Friday, December 07, 2007

Adobe AIR and Google Gears

Adobe's Apollo is now called AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime). AIR is powered by HTML, Ajax, Flash, and Flex.

Another project related to PTL is Google Gears. Google Gears is currently in early stages of beta, but works with Google Reader.

Like PTL, both AIR and Gears try to provide RIAs (Rich Internet Applications) that work seamlessly online and offline.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

apollo and gwt

Adobe has a new project called apollo, which has some of the same objectives and technical specifications of ptL.

Google also has a similar project, called gwt (the Google Web Toolkit).

Monday, February 13, 2006

like projects

The open xul alliance has an big list of projects just like ptl. Openlaszlo claims to have something to do with this sort of thing, but I haven't seen that substantiated yet.

Openajax is one of many "ajax" projects, which are related to ptl, because ptl is seeking to lead the world as a complete ajax solution.

ptl is like xulrunner

There's another project like ptl, called xulruner. It seems to have started with firefox 1.5, or about last Spring. It contains common controls like buttons, text boxes, and check boxes. It also looks to include file selection dialog boxes and maybe a spelling checker and corrector.

I think the major difference between ptl and xulrunner is that xulrunner has a special xml vocabulary called xul, which it uses to define the gui (graphical user interfaces) for the programs. Ptl just uses html, so the programs can interchangeably run offline, or over the web, just like any other web application. The other advantage of ptl just using html instead of xul, is that you don't have to learn a new language. And we don't have to support the overhead.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

ptl tools

Here are some tools we may want ptl to include.
  1. file io
  2. shell access
  3. file selection dialog box
  4. spelling checker and corrector

Monday, January 30, 2006

Use Web Pages Without the Web

Ptl is to help make computer programs to run in web pages, but even without the web. Using computer programs over the web is great, but the truth is that people can't all be on the web all the time. For instance, some people work in remote regions where they need to use programs, but there's simply no web access reasonably available.

I'm looking at Java for most of the programming, because Java has such a high hype value, and seems like it's pretty "ubiquitous"- meaning, it's everywhere. Of course there will also have to be a little bit of JavaScript programming, just because of the nature of ptl.

Ptl is to do these 3 things.

  • Serve web pages to use programs made with ptl, even without web access.
  • Already include, for the web pages, the parts that are most often needed in order to use programs.
  • Make it easy to get, install, and run a program made with ptl.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

AJAX - Again, Just Another eXtension

Ajax is no big deal. Ajax just means that you can reload a little part of a web page instead of completely reloading the entire web page just to update that part.

Everybody's really excited because Microsoft and Google have been creating some high profile web pages that work this way. Actually, the idea isn't new. For a long time, scripts in web pages have loaded images and plugins from the server into parts of the pages. And when people were satisfied with simple rectangular areas to divide the parts of the page which would change independently, any data could be loaded on demand in "frames" and even inline frames, called "iframes". Even Google maps just uses an iframe, which has been around for ages.

There's a lot of hype going around about Ajax because it means people are finally starting to do some things the way they should have been done all along. But is it any more revolutionary, than, say, when those links started lighting up when you moved your mouse over them? I don't think so. Eventually Ajax will probably just be a little gimmick everybody and their brother will use in all their web pages- like those light-up links. It has little real impact on the character or functionality of the web.

Friday, October 28, 2005

From the Web to the Desktop

Ptl is supposed to help people write web applications to be used as desktop applications.

I want people to be able to write document-based GUIs (XHTML, DHTML, CSS, and ECMAScript,) which will run consistently on any platform. They'll also be in the same ubiquitous formats as web pages. Parts of the guis could be used seamlessly for other purposes, like in email, printing, and documentation. Developers might even reuse elements of existing web pages for their program guis.

The user interfaces for the programs are web pages in web browsers, but the web server is running locally, and programs in the server use the local computer like any other desktop program would use it.

We need to provide a run time environment (framework) to install on the user's computers. It will feature a locally running web server (like "jetty",) to serve up the user interfaces for the ptl programs.

We should also provide libraries for common tasks like persistent storage. I was considering using xml for all of the persistent storage, but now I'm leaning heavily more toward a relational database, which would mean also including a sql server (like "hsqldb") in the framework.

Another challenge is how the ptl programs might be able to communicate with each other?

Anyway, we should probably provide access to the filesystem, and other hardware devices like digital cameras, microphones, speakers, pen tablets, joysticks, printers, and things like that, which are usually not part of a web application, either on the server-side, or on the client-side (browser,) but are used commonly for desktop applications- and will be needed.