Rendezvous is a great technology. It intelligently extends portions of existing protocols and standards to create something that is not only easy to implement, but is pretty simple in its construction. Simple is a good thing when we’re talking about network things. Complexity in a network is an administrator’s worst nightmare. Services like DHCP and DNS are there to make the administrator’s job easier. Unfortunately services like DHCP and DNS are beyond the grasp of most users. Rendezvous steps in and makes it so the average person can get a functional network in place quickly and easily.
Rendezvous isn’t the only protocol around working to make networking easier; UPnP is another system designed for easy home networking. Right now it’s strongly backed by Microsoft and Intel. However it is a heavier system and doesn’t build as much upon existing protocols as Rendezvous does. Rendezvous also has the advantage that you can get real products, right now that are working examples of the technology.
With this in mind it’s great to see Apple make another product that makes use of Rendezvous. I’m of course talking about the Safari browser Apple just recently released as a Public Beta. Though you might not have heard much about it during the Keynote at MacWorld San Francisco, this browser is packing Rendezvous. Now Safari isn’t the only browser that has a working implementation of Rendezvous. The Chimera browser has Rendezvous support as well (and has had it longer even).
Until more recently, the Rendezvous features in the browser have been stagnant, but now Eric Seidel has written an Apache module named mod_rendezvous which enables your Mac’s web service to appear in that Rendezvous menu. It’s pretty easy to install and works very well. Also, if you’re using Apple’s FTP sharing, it will appear in Chimera’s Rendezvous list. Not only that, but expect products like routers and printers to come with built-in, Rendezvous advertising web servers. Setting up your next home NAT router could be as easy as plugging in a cable and opening the configuration site from your browser’s Rendezvous menu.
Keep an eye on this one folks. I predict Rendezvous making it real big in our industry, especially in the home and small office markets.
What do you think will use Rendezvous next?