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Weblog:   All Software Should Be Network Aware
Subject:   Better use of Instant Messaging
Date:   2003-07-02 10:50:33
From:   anonymous2
I would like to see better use of instant messaging. It would be great if you can IM applications to determine the health of the application, the status, version, etc. If your on the application's buddy list, you can query the server application from anywhere, not just the console.

In regards to health, I've been toying with the idea of having stack traces optionally send to my through IM. This way if a customer calls and has a problem, I can see the stack traces happen through IM in real time. This would allow me to easily see the problem, fix it and release a patch.

IM has so many fantastic uses that if people sat down and thought about it they can easily come up with a dozen or so innovative ideas.


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  • Better use of Instant Messaging
    2003-07-03 08:26:01  germuska [View]

    The Jabber folks think of things this way -- in fact, O'Reilly's own Programming Jabber has several examples. For instance, the author suggested that he might have a machine on the far end of a dial-up connection periodically dial in (rather than attempt to maintain a long-term dial-up connection), and then register it's presence with a Jabber Server, so that one could know when the "window of opportunity" for connecting back to the home machine was open.

    It's sort of frustrating that Jabber hasn't broken out of the hobbyist camp, but then, HTTP was around for several years before it caught the public imagination.
  • Better use of Instant Messaging
    2003-07-02 16:11:28  bbrown [View]

    That's an interesting use of IM, certainly, but I think it's tacking on functionality that doesn't belong.

    Perhaps a different app that might follow the same conventions as IM, but not use IM applications? I can think of a dashboard-style app that would use Rendezvous to establish connections and do the actual transmission using Jabber or something like that.

    Your notion of an all-in-one app runs counter to small pieces loosely joined and the general UNIX design philosophy. I'd like to see a number of different apps that can all interoperate or not, depending on your usage.
    • Tim O'Reilly photo Better use of Instant Messaging
      2003-07-03 09:43:15  Tim O'Reilly | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

      Not sure if you were responding to me or to one of the other folks who commented. I'm not suggesting an "all in one" app, and definitely not trying to contravene "small pieces loosely joined" -- in my reply to another query above, I just cited that very phrase to explain my vision. I'd love to see a lot of this stuff "built in" to OSes so that it would be easier for apps to do the right thing, or for programs supplying many of these features be modular enough that they could easily be grafted on to each other. (For example, Chandler is adding some of these features using Jabber.) But I am actually thinking that many of the things I'm talking about are not actually software features so much as they are agreements to act a certain way. I believe that many app developers are still stuck in the desktop mindset, and when folks start to put the network front and center in their consciousness, they'll make a host of small but important design decisions differently.

Showing messages 1 through 3 of 3.