December 22, 2008

[Shift] Web

[Warning: this is another, hopefully less boring, technical post!]

While Google Docs will likely never beat out Word or Pages in terms of functionality, there is an obvious industry shift towards web apps from desktop apps (why else would Google Chrome exist). I also see some desktop programs beginning to have their own built-in web interfaces so that they can be controlled across the expanse of the net (it's like running an application-specific mini-server).

This leads me to wonder - will someday all applications have their own web interfaces? (damn, that's a lot of open web ports), will OSes have their own web interfaces?, and will someday we see a trend towards web-only interfaces? Since you can always see a web interface locally, perhaps one day we won't even have traditional GUIs, just site-specific browsers distributed with background daemons.

This could, of course, have some very interesting results. For one, people would be using their computers more like servers - and any machine with internet becomes a thin-client. This could lead to more people buying a desktop machine, and then something like a netbook to go with it. From a development perspective, cross-platform UI design would be over (and cross-bowser issues could be minimized as well, if say an app-specific version of WebKit was included). Also, think of the ability to easily place ads into a program from someplace like Google AdSense.
There ore obviously things that just wouldn't work well with a web interface, like real games. And I would be very wary of the load placed on the associated technologies (even now, Google Docs loves to pound me with slow script warnings).

Just something to think about. And maybe I'll be able to say "I told you so" someday ;) !
Oh yeah, and for the record; I love over any day.

December 18, 2008

Functional Filesystems

[Warning: this post is technical and possibly boring!]

There is this idea I've been playing with for quite some time. In IS I often see this tendency to create big, obnoxious databases for storing information. But sometimes we don't need to do this. I have this idea where you simply store information in a predetermined file structure. Then, the code navigates, reads, and interprets this file structure.

For example, I currently have a project where I'm generating a set of html files via local command line php script (I have no server-side scripting). In order to create a new page all I have to do is place a content snippet in a certain folder. The php then knows knows to generate it, and add it to the navigation sidebar in a sub-level navigation section based upon the sub-level directory the file is in. Take a look at

Pinch of Salt also uses a form of this concept. When uploading pictures to a recipe, the picture is stored in a folder based on the recipe's id, which is inside a folder based on the user's id. While Pinch of Salt does use a database to store the location of pictures (it needs to store other things too, unfortunately), the idea is that it may be useful the be able to simply query a folder for it's contents. Or perhaps recursively delete a user's folder if an account needs to be destroyed.

I'm sure this is not original, but that doesn't make it any less interesting.


Despite having been home for a while, I haven't actually been done with all my assignments (hooray for digital delivery!). Well I just completed those, and now that other people are trickling back (and I've gotten some sleep), my break can officially begin (barring outstanding contracts, etc of course).

December 8, 2008

Home Again

I have had the incredible fortune this semester of having no finals. So not only will I have an insanely long break, but I made it home in time to see my visiting newborn cousin. Of course I still have schoolwork to hand in electronically, and it's not going to be very exciting here with no one else around - but I'm going to love the rest.

December 5, 2008

Pinch of Salt Updates

Hey all. I recently redid the stylesheets for It looks better now, but it's still very orange. I'm using orange on purpose, but I may break down and change it at some point.
I've also added an awesome picture feature - very slick if I say so myself. See an example at my page for Chris' Vinaigrette. Not the most amazing recipe to premier on, but it was certainly easy.