Archive for the 'Programming' Category


Unicode Explained

Jukka Korpela, whose well-researched writings on characters and encodings are standard references to which I frequently turn, has written a book on Unicode that has just been published by O’Reilly. Marvellous. I’ve been waiting for this one. It’s likely to be a few months before I get to it, but I’m very glad it’s there.


Jabber and grid computing

Bill de hÓra, Using IM for grid computing:

When I look at the OGSA stack I’m fairly sure XMPP is to Grid and JINI as HTTP was to WS and CORBA. Give it a few years – instant messaging is where real commodity grid action will take place.

Yes. I’ve been poking at Jabber for four or five years now, drawn not only by the idea of open source and open standards for instant messaging, but also what the idea of presence might mean to software. Grid computing is a fascinating problem space, one for which I feel I have an insufficient computer science background to completely grok right now. But from what little I understand (not much more than you get from Tim Bray’s explanation), XMPP and something like the Jabber XCP would be a good fit.

From a comment by James Governor on Bill’s post, I see that Coté discussed what presence might mean for systems management, well worth reading. I wonder if the Open Management Consortium people are thinking about this. He also gives an example of how presence might be used to facilitate messaging at a transaction or business object level in application programming. That’s the sort of thing I’ve been thinking about on and off over the years. A platform like Java’s may have its own messaging framework or three, but cross-platform messaging using something other than SOAP and HTTP would be nice. Coté touched on this, too, with his comments about the web services monoarchitecture. Seems we’ve been here before… Presence just adds a whole new interesting wrinkle.

Bill also points to ejabberd. Why? Because it’s written in Erlang, a language that was designed for distributed, concurrent programming, which seems obviously useful for grid computing. Erlang may well be my next language. I’ve been thinking that it might be Smalltalk, or Lisp, or Haskell (the latter because I want to work with more and different examples of functional languages) but Erlang is a contender. The problem is that as I have not needed to solve many concurrent programming problems, I may not be ready for Erlang until i’ve got a few more years programming under my belt, or a really nasty project to work on that fits nicely in its problem space. Like, say, a large, distributed IM and presence messaging network for which I want to use ejabberd.

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