Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Strange summer and other things

What did you do on your summer vacation? Mine was kind of hectic. I came in contact with a group of people who was in the process of creating a startup and was searching for a front-end lead. The idea sounded strange but I was wowed by the talent that sat at the table. We were people from all around the world; Sweden (obviously :), Pakistan, France, Canada and USA.

I had a complete blast with designing the front-end stuff and interacting and brainstorm with all the other guys and girls on the team. Wives were involved (under NDA's naturally) and ideas spawned at any hour of the days - dinner tables, while jogging - you name it.

Unfortunately I got more and more restless with what I felt was something that would not solve itself automatically; the end-user proposition, especially in light of similar services and/or services filling similar purposes. I might be wrong, but I feel that the end-user experience and value proposition must be central to a service, and by definition that includes its relation to its context (i.e. similarity neighborhood). I was so at odds with the rest of the team that I finally decided to quit rather than get into debates all the time.

This was not an easy decision, but in retrospect I still feel, the best one. It feels very sad to become part of a dynamic supersmart group fro a month and then willingly close the door on it, but that's what I did. OK, I'm still involved in some side-projects that are indirectly needed, but I'm not 'in' any longer.

So, that was quite a ride, and I'm still reeling from it. The positive side is that I now have more time on my hands (i.e. almost none) than before, so that finishing my book at least become a possibility. That is a good thing.

I'm also working on two things that is on my conscience;

1) Get back to finishing the fine editor for JavaScript as a Dojo component, so that I can finish my Bunkai editor so I can deliver it this decade to the Sling project (and any other project needing a rowser-based source code editor with pluggable resource managers.

2) Finish the simple Dojo / App Engine mockup for World Change Network before taking the family to dinner with the founder this Friday :) Might be a priority, really.

Other than that Dojo 1.2 is creeping ominously closer to being released (no thanks to me, I might add), and if you haven't checked out the truly cool new features, just look at the following;

Just-what-you-always-wanted DOM text effects; explosiong, slicings, you name it!

A eclipse/Croquet-sqeuak object browser / drill-down list. MIGHTILY useful

Insanely cool dynamic 2D charts with events, sliding pies and onmousovers with quivering data points. Mmmm..

And of course a lot more, but these are my personal favorites. The last two come from my personal stash, a cross-domain built svn 1.2, reasonably updated. Feel free to use it if you want to play with 1.2 but don't want to wait for AOL or Dojo to put up a build. Use same instructions as for AOL.

Continuing the Dojo trend, make sure to take a look at WaveMaker's latest release (with surfing board and everything :). As you all know WaveMaker is an open-source web-based IDE that let you create Ajaxified applications point-and-click style, with a WAR-file as result. Simple component bindings to SQL tables and/or Web Services as well.

Really cool, actually. If you're into Java, that is. I wonder what would happen if they took that front-end and put it on rails or App engine?? Hmm...

And I'm also gearing up for talking at AjaxWorld this October. I really hope that Red (at the Google Open Source programs office) will find a spot to do a tech talk that week, since it's going to be a summer of code party then as well.

Anyway, if you're in San José in October 20-25, please ping me for a beer ot two :)

Oh! And don't miss Kris Zyp's devastatingly spot-on article on client / server programming on the web.