I have not been able to make sense of the press coverage trying to describe what Google Wave is. This is immensely clarifying. Google Wave is chiefly technology for building collaborative editing applications. Casting it in terms of competing against email, IM, or Facebook, is simply a category error. I suppose the technology demo labeled "Google Wave" built on the underlying tech may be partially at fault for the confusion.
Most importantly, the waves (documents) are structured as threaded discussions. Users have global, unique, human readable addresses. Access to waves and parts of waves can be controlled per-person. There is an an inbox that lists waves by time. It keeps track of which ones have unseen content and notifies you when a change is made, and so on.
I don't think any mere mortal can get a good sense of what Wave is without seeing it in action. I didn't really wrap my head around it until I had spent a couple of hours using it.
"In 1993 Telegrafix created RIPscript or RIPscrip, which stood for "Remote Imaging Protocol". It was intended to be a vector-like graphics protocol that used ASCII files to describe lines and shapes to a client. This sort of approach (send descriptions of graphics, render them at the client side) had been done before, but a major push came with RIPscript and it followed onto the internet as a plug-in. Ultimately, the protocol did not catch on and was soon forgotten."
So the acronym expands to "Rest in Peace Script"?
RIP script was cool, I remember the editor they had for it was pretty slick.
Thems was the times.
Great insight! I also feel the same way; that is a very important point that people often overlook. Wave has a huge grand vision that could be shown far beyond the power of current UI client.
Great to hear that you are a fellow gtug campout member. It was one of the best experience. Thanks to Google for providing it.
The winning team built a prototype of a Justin.tv type of app in 2 days.
I do think it will be sometime before the platform sees any applications that have mainstream adoption. Video may be the first thing that gets wave rolling from consumer perspective.
Otherwise, the whole thing will be dependent on the quality of their client/server, and people will still be locked into a single implementation.
And, the other issue is just how extensible their data model can be, for other clients to do more than just their simplistic pidgin-HTML document rendering model. I.e., can another client/server pair use a more sophisticated document model but still have the document maintained by other implementations? (Not talking about robots or gadgets here, but a more fundamental question of document extensibility.
On these questions (and others) hang the whole general utility of the collaborative document editing facility.
I know a number of non-technical people who have watched the whole GW presentation and they can all immediately see the potential of Google Wave to be used within their work and adapted to their workflows. It's very smart of Google to support developers first, because GW's success will probably be highly dependent on specific applications/customisations built on top of their platform.
I feel like I should be able to drag and drop an image or link into something and have it show up on my friend's computer.
These are the interesting parts, I think.
I agree that the coverage so far have said exactly the kinds of things you are saying. I never understood what they were really getting at, but this article makes a lot more sense to me. It is mainly a protocol, and what the press are calling "Wave" is just a demo app that Google put together.
I just hope that we get the words "client" and "server" defined correctly this time around.
But, in reality, it is the display server process that offers display services to client programs that use them.
X Windows is using computer science jargon instead, where "client" and "server" are words that describe roles that two programs might play in a specific kind of relationship with each other.
How dare you insinuate that I might be a system administrator. Or that system administrators really don't know much beyond their domain. I won't stand for it!
I'm sure 'X windows' is technically a server in some the strictest sense. Technically I guess the client app issues a request for user input which is served by the X server. To extend that model the X server issues a sub-request to the user who fulfils that request. To me this seems to twist the terminology to the point where the user is just another service available to the program. It reflects a view of reality that does not appeal to ordinary end users and I believe this limited the success of X windows and unix/linux on the desktop.
X display servers (which we both agree are local) do not initiate clients to display on them, end users do this work - you can see this quite easily by initiating a client when you don't have an X display - the app will look for a $DISPLAY variable and attempt to connect to that display. The app is launched first by the user, and connects to the display server.
Commercially speaking, X11 was a great success. It is the de facto windowing system for UNIX and UNIX-like systems despite all of the horrors it brings.
And if you believe Windows is the most popular OS family, then being the defacto windowing system for the second most popular OS family is still a great success.
EDIT: He seems to be more keen on replacing X11. I think a protocol which works with X would be better.