Netvibes: Ajax at it’s Best


Netvibes is not anything new, but I have to say, it’s becoming pretty much my number one destination as of late. All the time I used to waste updating stand alone application based rss burners has been replaced by this all in one solution. I get all my mail, organize my feeds by category, do web searches, make to-do lists (don’t forget the milk!), you name it. And I can get at it from any computer I happen to be at with a simple web connection. It even seems to serve as a proxy to some services so if they are blocked by a service provider, the domain name is filtered out of the equation allowing for certain RPC activity that would be otherwise limited.

One complaint is deep linking. A lot of asynchronous and rich app sites fall victim to the back button of the browser. Flex has some great documentation and support for deep linking but with Ajax it’s a little harder to sniff out. With so many different calls from so many different places asking for this support may be put of the question. But either way, a minor issue in an otherwise excellent site. Highly recommended!


Obligatory iPhone post

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So the iPhone release has come and gone. And of the dozen or so insights I have about this work of art that I’m tempted to throw out there, I won’t divulge since it’s probably already been said. Instead I’ll go with just a few random thoughts.

No Flash – At the WSJ conference in May, Steve Jobs told Walt Mossberg that the iPhone was the real web on your cell phone. No Flash means it’s not the real web. Sorry Steve. We’ll laugh about this by the end of the year since Flash will be supported in some way but it really throws the whole mobile and devices implementation of Flash into a grey area. The worst thing that can happen here is if Flash becomes like old solid state video formats with their versioning. Remember Beta, VHS, Super VHS, 8mm, Super 8mm, miniDV, etc?… All of these video mind you but of different standards and compatibility. It would be a shame if we lost Flash’s universality in order to support certain types of hardware. Their whole platform agnostic approach has been key to their success. We’ll see where it goes.

Hacks – There’s already been a big Safari exploit which supposedly could allow a hacker to arbitrarily monitor audio in the room of the phone’s owner. Now that’s a little scary. The kind of hacks I want to see are more of the homebrew and workaround sort that allow users to make the iPhone exactly what they want. I would give Apple credit though, they sure have reached a high quality common denominator in terms of features and usability.

Air – This little Air application shows just how powerful Air is as an application solution. All it really does presently is jam the Air html browser into an iPhone skin but still, this was whipped together (by Joe Johnston) in a relatively short matter of time and set loose the night before the iPhone was even released! No C++ or application signing necessary to get an excellent looking app ready for easy distribution. He’s even updating it to add the other actual widget functionality. This is the same framework that Apple should leverage when they open the iPhone to the masses. They already make it easy to make DVD’s, music, webpages, and photo collections. Why not applications as well? Another funny thing, the unconfirmed Adobe consensus is that they were left off the plate in terms of Flash on the iPhone. I’d like to see the Air browser support some 3rd party plugins as well so it’s a two way street. Quicktime or Windows Media? What about Silverlight? 🙂