Saturday, October 23, 2004

What's the difference between local application and web application?

I am looking in the future of web applications. Those applications could do something that we are doing with our local applications but running or look like running in a web browser.

But why we need those applications? There are several reasons.

  1. We want mobility.
    • We want to, most time we have to walk arround. For example, many times I have to work in my office for some time and then go to a library and then work at the library for some other time. I have a notebook, but I don't like to carry it with me all the time. And there are always some computers in the library, and there is always at least one web browser on each of those computers. I can use them.
  2. For the mobility, we want data to be centralized.
    • I hate to say, "Oh, my, I forget my data in the office." And I can put my data on the webserver and access them via web browser. But if we have the data centralized, we have to use network con retrieve the data.
  3. We want multi-platform compatibility.
    • I use different computers, and different people use different computers. No body want to write same application several times just for different platform. And as web content can be used by web browser, there problem of compatibility become no problem.
  4. We want to have pictures, videos and more...
    • All of those ability can be achieved by telnet. But we also want to use see the graphics and see the radios.
  5. Security concerns
    • And because of the security concerns, ports other than 80 has been closed in may computers. In some other case, even any application other than web browser has been shut off the net. Thus, telnet and other applications are forbidden to reach the web, we we have to use web browser. The other security concern is the encryption, the encrypt method used by browsers are well developed and we don need to concern the bugs.

And web applications are different from common applications. Those common applications retrieve data via network using what ever method and has full access to the local data. Web application has tow layers, the first layer is the web server side application. The data are stored on the web server and the server side have full access to the data. Then the server side application send the data in partially rendered form, like HTML or XML, to the web browser. The web broser render the data into understandable form.

The ability of web appliation to render the data is confined by the ability of webbroser to render HTML and the ability of web developer. The ability of web browser is limited, unfortunately. For example, by now, the round corner, which has been used on printed media for hundreds of years, has not been impleted on major browsers on a standard way.

The ability of HTTP is confined. Though we have XML now, XML can be used to transfer diferent kind of data with very complicated structure, the XML has its own problem.

XML is slow and resource demanding.

So over all, web applications have their own points. But the ability of web applications are limited. We may not be able to produce web application as powerful as common applications. But web applications do have their own points, like mobility and security.

Monday, October 18, 2004

What else a search engine could do?

What else a search engine could do except search? There are many things a search engine could and should do. Basically a search engine has a large database, ah... huge. There are many data inside, it is stupid not to use that data.

One function a search engine could do is analyze the growth of a website. And website should keep adding more and more information to itself. And a search engine could provide information about how this website adding new information to itself. Or the growth curve of the website. It could be linear, square, log or square root of time.

The other thing a search engine could do is analyze the obsolete rate of a website. There are pages that people are not interested anymore, a search engine should be able to see that trend.

The third thing a seach engine is able to do is analyze the growth of other websites, especially "websites with great similarity". This sounds like a spy, but useful...

The fourth thing, to monitor the stability of a website. netcraft is running such service.

The fifth, to give information related with geographical distribution. The business of real world is done at different geographical positions. Or simplify it as provide "whois" information together with No. 1, 2, 3, 4.

The sixth... lemme think.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Google has "who is linking me" function, but...

Just found that google has the function of "who is linking me", just type the url of the website, and in the search page a link will be provided about who is linking this website, or just type link:url and search.

But only for website, not for page...

Say good bye to Table&Graphics, say hello to CSS

We web developers used a lot of table stuff and graphic secret to make beautiful pages, ah... at least in the eyes of designers. Many old guys like are still using that because they don't want to introduce bugs I believe. And some new guys like also using this tricks, but I don't know why.

We are in the useful CSS world now, we don't need 1px*1px transparent gif anymore, boxes of text can be positioned to where we want exactly. We can produce round corner with graphics and we can produce transparent layers either. Well, in certain browsers like firefox. And as more and more people adopting this new browser, the microsoft will be forced to work on their IE again, to adopt the CSS standard. And the official browser of Apple and KDE also.

This is good to our web developers, or web application developers. There is a list of mine for IE to implement

  • CSS selector
  • Round corner
  • Table layout
  • Multi-columnar

If major browsers could do this, no matter it is Firefox or IE, the Web will change forever and the web developers will be able to have a good sleep. But who will command the IE to change. The firefox of course.

why can't we have two screens on one notebook?

Hey, I have a notebook computer, and I want a bigger screen without too much compromise of the weight and size of the computer, or the mobility. So why don't we make a notebook computer with two screens? there are different ways to configure the second screen. And we can get much working space.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Free online stream server

We'd like to people look at our thoughts, so we blog. We'd like to have people look at our photos, so we have online photo album. And we also want to have other people listen to our singing, or our performance, so there should be a free online stream server. There must be one, I must be not the first one have this idea.

OpenOffice + browser based document system

We all know that OpenOffice save files in the xml format, and browsers are supposed to be able to display xml files. And Sun has OpenOffice and Sun is good at servers.

So, how about this. Sun could make OpenOffice run on the backend servers, headless servers, together with some system like the, then people edit their document online. And Sun could provide 1G space for free with ad support like google. If you want to have something without ad, OK, pay please. And some of those advertisement may actually be useful.

Word processor shouldn't be a problem, the spreadsheet shouldn't be a big problem either. Don't we already have a presentation in Mozilla? yes, we have.

And the drawing program could be implemented by the "canvas" tag introduced by Apple.

And all of them should be able to be produced as PDF. And files should be able to be published for all of the people to see on the web. If you want to some control of access, OK, get your viewers registered and list their user name. And the files are also be able to be downloaded and opened by OpenOffice.

Moreover, a book publishing system should be able to be constructed on this system.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

you have a dead link!

The search engines are looking for new services to provide for their customs. And there are many new ideas to do. For example, search engine could find dead links in a website much easier than the other people. And webmasters will be very happy to know that there are some dead links in their websites.

This service may not increase the traffic to the search engnine much, but definitely will do some good to the web.

Monday, October 04, 2004

how many browsers we should keep?

Now the browser was begin again, and which side we should take? Now there are IE, firefox, opera and safari/KHTML arround the world. Each of them has a batch of loyaltists. Which side we should take? Let's compare them all. IE come with my Mac and Windows machine, so I don't need to buy or download. Firefox is open source and small and looks nice and free. Opera is quick. Safari is the default browser on my Mac. It's a hard decision to make.

OK, let's stop here. Here comes the other question, why we should support a single browser or why we should use only one browser? We are not the father or mother of the browsers. We are the client, we can use all of them if we like. It is not the war between Bush and kerry. We can keep as many browsers as possible on our computers.

So, basically i keep three of them, Firefox, may favorite one; Safari, not too bad and IE.