I was in Seattle all week and as such, am just getting caught up on things outside the scope of my trip.
I did have a chance to chat with a somewhat excited Sylvain on Tuesday morning who had been chatting with Michael Sparks (BBC Kamaelia project creator) on IRC about various aspects of the Kamaelia project and how this relates to various projects we are both working on, that of Viberavetions and LLUP/Blip Messaging. He specifically pointed at a recent post from Michael that brought together a lot of problems we have been specifically trying to solve with LLUP. When we spoke, I was just getting ready to head out to meet up with Dimitre Novatchev for lunch, but by chance, Russ pinged me around the same time, and as such, picked up the conversation with Sylvain where I left off.
Russ recently provided the following in an entry entitled,
Great minds and all that… well, I might not have a great mind but Michael Sparks certainly seems to have.
Not only is his blog one of the most entertaining reads I’ve had the pleasure to come across in a long time, but this entry in particular piqued my friend Sylvain’s interest. Mostly because we share the view on how the current RSS as pipe view on the world is faulty, but also because we, along with M. David Peterson, have been working on something that aims to hit those flaws on the head.
 The LLUP System in a nutshell
LLUP stands for Limited Lifetime Ubiquitous Protocol. What it does is simply allow you to subscribe to particular types of content (on criteria such as geographic area of interest or other simple keywords) and then for content producers to notify your account when something of interest has been made available. Think of it as a system somewhere between email (push) and web sites (pull). A content producer puts out some content and then sends a notification, called a blip, into the LLUP system. The LLUP system the smartly propagates the blip to anyone who has expressed an interest. A presentation overview of the LLUP system is available here.
To do this, LLUP is made up of three services that are all defined using open standards. The Publication service provides an interface where content creators and producers can tell the system that new content is available and what it is relevant to (and also to ensure that only known sources can send into the LLUP system, overcoming some of the issues with spam*). The Subscription service allows content consumers to subscribe to different types of blip. The BlogXast service is a combination of a publication service and the subscription service in that it provides a smart router that can route blips intelligently throughout a system.
Although different implementations of the LLUP services are possible, web services are the most common and so that is what we have implemented with Rails here.
* In terms of authentication, LLUP is moving forward into using SAML to handle federated user account information and this is a significant step towards protecting LLUP from some of the same issues that plague email.
 The draft LLUP Specification.
Look’s like I have some catching up to do with Russ and Sylvain, though at first look, it definitely seems as if interesting times are ahead.
I’ll report back what I find out….
Oh, by the way… If you’re interested in understanding the difference between LLUP and Blip Messaging, Tim Lynch, Director of IT at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences @
Cornell University, provided a use case a couple of months back to the LLUP development list that used LLUP as the foundation of his ‘AgAlert’ system, which in short is a system designed to announce, monitor, research, and in other forms make available information via blog entries (or any other electronic publication medium) in regards to an agricultural outbreak, using the LLUP specification for sending out contextual messages tagged with regional information, time stamps (start and expire), keyword/category tags, and short summary of the content, attaching the name ‘AgAlert’ to the result.
In this case, AgAlert is the equivalent of a Blip Message, or, in other words, AgAlert and Blip Messaging are implementations of the LLUP specification. While maintaining compatibility with the LLUP specification is important, using the LLUP or BLIP acronynms are most definitely not important. They’re just acronyms, and stupid ones at that ;)