Saturday, May 24, 2008

Look, ma, no code!

I read the other days an article about a guy that devised a method to turn off the lights in his bedroom by tweeting about it. My mind immediately started flying towards writing Jabber protocol extensions for communicating with the fridge, the washing machine, the dvd player or the heating system. E.g. "coming home with a girl / guy" on the home group would trigger synchronized actions: heat a little up, cooling wine (only if it's white), start slow music, etc, etc. Since it works for Twitter it would definitely work for Jabber, on both ends: the sender and the home appliance implementation: it's just the same thing (same 80, same plain text, same openness). Jabber also feels more like the right way to implement it: its extension mechanism can allow from a simple text message (which you could actually send without extensions) to sophisticated any-purpose structured data, all thanks to XML almighty. Actually I start to wonder right now if that does not exist already, it seems so clean and cool and not even rocket science.

It was no earlier than today that I asked myself: ok, then WHY didn't the guy (or anybody) do it for Jabber? It's obviously a better choice. But it isn't as simple as Twitter. Jabber is a heavy protocol, although open and everything, there still are 2 (or 7, if you want to be strict) RFCs about it. Yeah, a lot of libraries come to save us from reading them but still, library? look, on Twitter I can only do it with a simple regexp! ("Look, ma, no code!"). It hit me that this might be the explanation for all the "twitter hysteria": not the need for social interaction (bla, bla), the need for microblogging in an ever time constrained world, the need of accessibility in the increasingly mobile world or whatever, just its simpleness. And it's no surprise, in the end: all the right things in life are simple.

Definitely something to remember, if we happened to forget it, for the next world changing application we design!

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