Mobile Convergence

Thursday, September 08, 2005

XMPP - Jabber RPC - For RS and FA

"Back in my day, we used two tin cans and some string to do Remote Procedure calls..."

Yes, there is more fun stuff to do in with XMPP than JEP-0060 PubSub

JEP-0009: Jabber-RPC

This JEP defines a method for transporting XML-RPC encoded requests and responses over Jabber/XMPP.

What does XML-RPC do? Check out this great article by Dave Winer that describes RPC.

XML RPC for Dummies

"But RPC is important, no matter what format is used, because it allows choices, you can replace a component with another one; and it opens possibilities, empowering advanced users to develop solutions with packaged software that the developers didn't anticipate."

OK, so we see how RPC is used. Now, thanks to Jabber-RPC and the great work of many developers, we can use XMPP to handle RPC calls.

Since I know you guys are dying to learn Python.. :)

For the Java devs, follow This thread Java, Smack, Groovy.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

XMPP - Agile Messenger, do they get it?

Agile Messenger is an IM client for mobile devices. Well, some IM services on some devices. XMPP (Jabber) works on their Symbian Series 90 (Nokia 7710) client, if you can find the setting. It is buried in the Menu setting after you have logged onto another IM service like MSN. Makes a lot of sense, huh?

There are many things that don't make sense about Agile Messenger. It started off as a free client, then they started charging for it. That's fine, €2.99 a month or a one time charge of €19.99. What doesn't make sense is their supposed support structure and contact Email. No one I know has ever received a response from Agile. I know a lot of people who have sent requests asking if/when Agile Messenger will support XMPP on Symbian Series 80 (Nokia 9300/9500) and have never heard anything back. Well, I did read on one site that someone did get a response (unconfirmed) and Agile claimed they will not support XMPP in future releases.

Now, Agile has a forum that showed up recently and a paying customer (you have to pay to access their forum) asked if Google Talk will be supported. http://www.agilemobile.com/support/viewtopic.php?t=73

The response is that yes it will be some time in the future. I hope they don't do something stupid like hard code talk.google.com into the product instead of letting the (paying) user choose their XMPP server.

Maybe, on a really off chance this message gets to Agile, I'd be willing to pay €40 for a client that included either python or OPL scripting support to custom query incoming PubSub (JEP-0060) messages on a Series 80 Phone :)

Que Serra, my rant for the day.

Monday, September 05, 2005

XMPP - From Jabber to Google Talk in 60 seconds

So, I had set up my subscription stack at PubSub.com to include XMPP. Prior to the release of Google Talk I would get a few PubSub results a day in my sidebar focused on Jabber development. Since the release of Google Talk, there is a steady stream of results about the use of XMPP as the GTalk protocol. Is this significant? Is it a phenomenon? Maybe, maybe not.

Brand loyalty and the verbizitation of products. Today, we Tivo our favorite TV shows, we Google for search results on the Web, we PubSub blogs for live feeds. We don't differentiate between the company Google and the search product called Google. This is nothing new. My Mom used to ask me to get something out of the Frigidaire, even though it was a Maytag refrigerator. In the UK, people Hoover their carpets. How long until you are Borked if you don't understand what "Gtalk me" means?

Is the acceptance of Google Talk as the XMPP IM protocol a phenomenon? From a marketing perspective it is. Usually, what happens if you are late to market, with a limited feature set that does not have parity with existing products? Disruptive pricing may get you a chance at "Crossing the chasm", but you can't maintain any significant market share for an extended period of time. When you are comparing free vs. free that negates the disruptive pricing issue. So, why is Google talk getting so much press? It is less than a me too product. It is late to market. It has a limited feature set. It doesn't support video chat, doesn't shake the screen or tap on the glass to get my attention. It doesn't even leverage the strongest feature of XMPP; the ability to connect to other Jabber servers using server to server (s2s) communications. JEP-0060, PubSub is missing. Google could have offered the ability to search live feeds and return the results in Google Talk as they came available. I am sure Bob Wyman must be wondering about that one.

Marketing. Google has successfully learned the marketing game. The king of marketing used to be Microsoft. MS has consistently created sub-standard products and has marketed them as the greatest thing since shaped skis, or sliced bread if you are not a gravity sports fanatic. MS releases Beta products and calls them Final Releases. Google releases fully functional products and calls them Beta Releases. Google allows us into their labs, we can experience the Google vision. They understand the Open Source philosophy of release often, release early. Microsoft has been perceived to be evil, Google instills in its employess "don't be evil" as its core value. If you disagree that Microsoft is perceived to be evil, then you don't get out much. Steve Balmer, Microsoft CEO, has this to say about his "don't be evil" rival: "I'm going to f---ing kill Google."
My advice to Mr. Balmer: Give people what they want, don't try to dictate what the market should use. Take this recent example. "The commonwealth of Massachusetts has proposed a plan to phase out office productivity applications from Microsoft and other providers in favor of those based on "open" standards, including the recently approved OpenDocument standard." Alan Yates, Microsoft's general manager of Information Worker business strategy, seems that think that closed, proprietary standards are better than open, well documented standards. You can read about Microsoft's lastest fiasco Here

Microsoft doesn't get the message. The message is "stick to creating a mainstream Operating System and leave innovation to those companies that understand how to implement it." Google gets it. They have been late to market with sometimes limited feature sets, and yet they have done it right in the eyes of the consumers. Orkut, "an online community that connects people through a network of trusted friends" beat Microsoft's Friendster. Google maps minimized the usefullness of Microsoft's Terra Server. MSN search lays abandoned as most people have set Google Search as their home page. GMail over Hotmail. Now, Gtalk will eventually migrate users from MSN Chat. The one place in the world where MSN (MSN CHAT, "MSN me") is a verb, Brasil, is about to mass migrate to Google Talk. Why? Orkut. Brasil has the largest representation on Orkut. Place your bets... Google will integrate Google Talk into Orkut. An online community that interacts through a network of real-time communication makes too much sense. It is like AOL for grownups.

In a speech in Cape Town, South Africa, on June 7, 1966, Robert F. Kennedy said, "There is a Chinese curse which says, "May he live in interesting times." Like it or not, we live in interesting times..." Curse or omen? For Microsoft, this is a curse. For Google, an omen. We live in interesting times. We are seeing open standards defeat closed, proprietary "do it my way damnit" mentality.

Enough rambling for now. I need to go add some boolean logic to my PubSub subscription.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

WiredReach Platform

Interesting new project. http://www.wiredreach.org

The WiredReach Platform, built on a set of open standards and technologies (JXTA, XMPP, Eclipse, RDF [it’s backed by a Jena/HSQLDB store], and RSS), allows users to selectively and securely share “content” with others in a completely decentralized manner. That means your content does not have to be uploaded to any central servers but rather can be shared right from your desktop or device. We use the term “content” very loosely - It can include things like presence, blogs, bookmarks, documents, calendars, music, photos… virtually any type of social media.

Traditional content sharing and collaboration applications are typically built using proprietary protocols and/or as closed networks which limit their applicability, scope and, most importantly, their ability to interoperate. Our goal, instead, is to take an open network approach and enable what we call the “User-Centric Web” - one that blurs the boundaries between the desktop and the web and that can be extended by anyone.

Licensing the platform under the EPL is a key element towards realizing this open vision. The source code and more information about the WiredReach open source project is available at http://www.wiredreach.com/developers