We do the work, You do the pleasure
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A lot of people have talking about the social desktop, networked
services, and similar stories lately. I guess the integration between computers
and network services, which I had been talking about over 11 years ago, is
finally catching on. Thanks to all the new smartphones, netbooks, and similar
devices, designed to be on-line all the time, and the services people are
providing for those devices, we're now trying to wedge the same integration
into our outdated desktops. And it seems like nobody really wants to do
what's best for everyone here. Having all the apps just use the same
libraries to access the same data, and parse it separately, and have the user
add their account to all the apps N times, just isn't going to make a good or
This is where Central
Services would come in. I've talked a little bit about it before, to a
few people at UDS, and on IRC. I haven't had a lot of time to work on getting
the ball rolling though. But I really want to get things going now, so that
we can build a really awesome experience in the desktop, around all the
services available, and that everyone uses daily. The goal is to provide
a central system where all the plug-ins and configuration live. The user would
then only have to add their account for any particular service once. The
system would also provide transcoding features for data, taking the XML or
JSON for example, and converting it to a common format that all the apps which
are designed to display the data only have to actually deal with a single,
defined, common format. Central Services however, would not be a data store.
Rather, it is a central place for accessing your data from wherever it is
stored. There would be a small, optimized local cache, perhaps, and we could
integrate with indexing solutions, which may store the data, to provide more
feature-rich search capabilities in the desktop as well. But the overall goal
is to provide a simple, consistent means for accessing and managing your data.
I've been thinking a lot about the problem over the years, and I think a
modular, centralized system is the best way forward on the desktop with it.
I've been trying to think of a nice way to design the API, with a good balance
between being generic, yet powerful. The main API access will be via DBus,
but there will be some C and Python convenience libraries as well. I'm not
entirely sure what the best way to document the API, and get stuff rolling
there is, but I'd love some help and feedback with it. If you're interested
in making the desktop awesome, and helping define the API, and getting some
working code up and out in the wild, please e-mail me and let me know, or
poke me on IRC. You can e-mail me at the usual dobey on gnome.org or dobey on
wayofthemonkey.com to get my attention.
A common API, accounts interface for users, and cross-service integration
all over the desktop would be a huge win for everyone. Let's get together
and make it happen.
Syndicated 2009-08-04 02:17:10 from dobey's blog