Great entry over on Mark Lucovsky's blog

May 20, 2005

On one of my feeds (not sure which one) Where else? Of course it was from Scoble, I saw that Mark Lucovsky has posted again on his blog (don’t know how this slipped under my radar, but it’s been up for 3 weeks now).

The conversation started on Don Box’s blog with a small reference to an old book he saw in his basement sparked a detailed entry by Mark about HailStorm. Then, if you look at the comments, you’ll see a lot of discussion sparked from both of the posts.

I’m always enlightened by MarkL’s musings, here’s some excerpts that I found extremely interesting:

I agree with him that as a whole, HailStorm was never released, but that the essence of HailStorm, in this dimension is alive and well.

YES! When I think about this space and I think about all the different technologies that are emerging nowadays, I get excited. It’s taking a lot longer than expected, but hopefully, one day, your data will be accessible and secure – period.

In our system, if you had a crude XML parser, and if you had an ability to send/receive HTTP, you could interact with HailStorm. We did not force you to purchase any special tools, install complex DLL’s or type libraries, generate proxy classes through a WSDL parser, etc. HailStorm was based on an approachable protocol that was easy to understand and use from any platform and from any device.

Enter REST. Who even needs a crude XML parser?! I know, I know, without some structured medium for communicating our data, the Internet is going to become a mess. Oh wait… it already is and that’s probably why it’s been so successful. IMO, one of the biggest revolutions the Internet continues to provide is that it keep lowering the barriers to entry.

For $8, I can buy a domain name. For $4 / month, I can host a site with PHP/MySQL. In a few minutes, I can put up a blog, bulletin board, picture sharing site, etc. In a few days, I can host up a new application that provides people with revolutionary services. And right after that, I can publish API endpoints that others can hook onto to extend my work. Take a look at Flickr… beautiful.

Architecturally, HailStorm provided a level playing field where service providers could compete for a customer’s business, and where because of all the facets listed above, a customer had complete freedom to move from provider to provider, with no impact on applications running on her behalf.

This is why the WS-* standards are so exciting; but they are only the first step. After the messaging layers are settled, I can see WS-* for data types as well, similar to WinFS schemas, except standardized across vendors.

Alternatively, we just need big players to define data type schemas. If Amazon created a open and extensible schema for representing retail products and got a good sized development community to use it, maybe that would just become the de facto standard data schema for that type of object.

I don’t really care how it gets done, the ends are more interesting to me than the means.

I believe that there are systems out there today that are based in large part on a similar set of core concepts. My feeling is that the various RSS/Atom based systems share these core concepts and are therefore very similar, and more importantly, that a vibrant, open and accessible, developer friendly eco-system is forming around these systems…

I wanna see that stuff shipped Mark! 🙂 I don’t really care who does it: Microsoft, Google, Yahoo… Plaxo? I just want to see it out there and I want to see people getting new experiences they’ve never even dreamed of.

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No Responses Yet to “Great entry over on Mark Lucovsky's blog”

  1. markl Says:

    so you found my post interesting…
    -markl

  2. markjen Says:

    Hi Mark – I definitely did find your post interesting and I liked the discussion in the comments too. One day, I’d like to think that the concepts that HailStorm embodied will be available in production. Hopefully, that day comes sooner rather than later 🙂


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