At the Forge - Column 100
Given such a rosy description of the present day, where are we going in the future? What trends will pick up speed as we pass through 2005? To begin with, it is clear that the Web, by which I generally have meant the combination of HTTP, HTML and URLs, is slowly breaking apart into separate constituent parts. I always thought that the Web was unusually powerful because it combined three simple, powerful technologies—HTTP, HTML and URLs—that worked well together. But I now see that each is useful in its own right and is branching out into other uses.
Particularly interesting are Web services, which represent a new, rich and open communications protocol for programs other than Web browsers. When they were first revealed, I though that Web services were some simple ideas piggybacking on the Web's success and name recognition. Although this might be true regarding the poor name choice and although they might be simple in theory, Web services are quite powerful indeed. The idea that one application can connect to another without regard for operating system or programming language is nothing short of amazing. And although truly good uses for Web services remain relatively rare, Amazon, Google and Bloglines are demonstrating that it is possible to expose your internal API to customers and other outsiders without giving up the store.
A similar trend is the use of the Web browser as an integral component in desktop application development. Help systems now are built with HTML and miniature Web browsers, and there are some full-fledged applications, such as ActiveState's Komodo, that are based on the underlying Mozilla engine. I often have said that Mozilla is the new Emacs. Although Mozilla development significantly is harder than Emacs customization ever was, the fact that Mozilla provides a cross-platform, programmable environment for rich desktop applications is impressive and is likely to improve further.
One promising application is Sunbird, the Mozilla calendar program, which I have been using for several months on my own desktop. Sunbird still has a number of problems and bugs, but one of my favorite features is its use of the iCalendar standard to retrieve various calendars from the Internet using HTTP. Yes, that's right—I'm running a desktop application based on Mozilla that retrieves URLs by way of HTTP, but it's not a Web browser!
On the server side, collaboration is an increasingly important watchword. Although it might not meet the rigorous standards of a commercial encyclopedia, Wikipedia is where I first turn when I'm curious about a topic. And thanks to thousands of contributors, it is more than good enough for my day-to-day use. Managing that sort of collaboration is no mean feat, and the WikiMedia Foundation's MediaWiki software, based on PHP and MySQL, quietly is turning into a top-notch package for collective writing and editing.
Finally, there always is a need for better debugging and testing frameworks. The growing trend on this front is more testing and even test-based programming. Unit tests are never going to provide a complete measure of whether software works correctly—but wouldn't you rather know that all of your procedures are working correctly before you start trying to integrate them? Test-driven development has been identified as one of the key methodological changes of the last few years, and I believe that it will continue to grow in popularity as software becomes increasingly complex.
It has been my pleasure to write 100 installments of At the Forge so far. But as you can tell from my above enthusiasm, many new challenges await Web/database developers, which means it'll take at least 100 more columns to cover them all. Over the coming months, we are going to look at a number of the ideas mentioned in this column, including iCalendar, Wiki software, Web services and test-driven development.
It might be more than ten years old, but the Web continues to be a fun, exciting and intriguing medium in which to work. Drop me a line at email@example.com telling me where you think the Web is headed—and what projects, technologies and trends you would like to see me cover in the coming months and years.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.View Now!
|The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database||Jul 29, 2016|
|Stunnel Security for Oracle||Jul 28, 2016|
|SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager||Jul 21, 2016|
|My +1 Sword of Productivity||Jul 20, 2016|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!||Jul 19, 2016|
|Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)||Jul 18, 2016|
- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide