Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ken Norton on Product Manager

Finally somebody wrote about the really obscure art of finding good Product Manager, It also allows one to look inward and see if they are PM material. Ken Norton is a veteran in recruiting PMs and it shows . Thanks for the great article

Thursday, June 23, 2005

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet

Douglas Adams, from the Hitchhikers fame wrote this in 1999. Still so relevant. I had a chance to listen to him in the closing keynote at JavaOne in 1999, such a great talk makes you sit back and think of perspectives not just on technology. I recommend reading the whole article. Here are some excerpts -

I suppose earlier generations had to sit through all this huffing and puffing with the invention of television, the phone, cinema, radio, the car, the bicycle, printing, the wheel and so on, but you would think we would learn the way these things work, which is this:

1) everything that'’s already in the world when you are born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after youĂ‚’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it's been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to work out how old you are.


Because the Internet is so new we still don'’t really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that i’s what we are used to.

Another problem with the net is that it'’s still ‘technology, and ‘technology’, as the computer scientist Bran Ferren memorably defined it, is ‘stuff that doesn'’t work yet. We no longer think of chairs as technology, we just think of them as chairs. But there was a time when we hadn'’t worked out how many legs chairs should have, how tall they should be, and they would often "crash"’ when we tried to use them. Before long, computers will be as trivial and plentiful as chairs (and a couple of decades or so after that, as sheets of paper or grains of sand) and we will cease to be aware of the things.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Rich Internet Application Framework from Backbase

Just ran across Backbase ( a well designed thin script based U/I development framework. It uses an XML-based User Interface language and leverages XHTML, CSS and DOM. It requires no install /plugin/java/Flash and yet are very powerful. It also seem to work fine in IE and Firefox.

They use AJAX patterns heavily and leverage the browser XML namespace support.

Demos -
Shoping - New way to shop
Portal - A new way to do responsive Portlets based U/I
Google : Totally new way to experience search using Google API and using drag & drop to bookmark

Backbase has introduced BXML, a declarative GUI language. BXML consists of about 85 B-tags and over 200 attributes that can be freely mixed with HTML. They give the developer access to best practices in user interface design, while still augmenting existing web development skills. The Backbase Client transforms the B-tags into the proper HTML, CSS and JavaScript code, and it ensures compatibility with each browser. There are B-tags for many different purposes:

  • Defining the layout (panels, windows and decks)
  • Styling the interface (themes and skins)
  • Creating user interface controls (menus, tabs, trees, sliders, etc.)
  • Adding behaviors (display, hide, loading data, animations, etc.)
  • Including form functionality (conditional forms, input validation)

Extending the namespace support to clean up the page layout code seems to be in vogue. Another project Novell Xforms is a cute project leveraging that for xform implementation.
Years ago I was part of the team that did the Xform 1.0 implementation that we contributed to IBM Alphaworks site It formed the basis for some of the IBM products that are coming out with revised implementation. Given a second chance we would love to go back and redo it using namespaces and not IE Mime handler.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

WebSphere Browser Framework and Faces Client

WebSphere Browser Framework (now called Faces Client) for WebSphere Studio provides a set of JSF based U/I Controls and Data Emitters for doing Rich browser applications without server round trips. It provided client-side processing coupled with a client-side data model to reduce server and network loads and user wait times. The result: richly interactive Web applications utilizing JavaScript for client-side processing and data structuring without browser or client upgrades.

A key Browser Framework component is its structured data model that supports dynamic data manipulation -- meaning that data could be lately bounded and can be manipulated on the client, either by the user or through a Web service or other Web-based update mechanisms, without a page-refresh. We had a Eclipse Modelling Framework EMF Core classes ( based implementation. The BF framework also provides rich user interface controls that were tied to JSF based emitters -Twisty, TreeView, DataGrid, ListView, TabbedPanel, DatePicker, GraphDraw, and Dialog.

Some of the design aspects we talked about in our 2004 paper in IBM Systems Journal

Browser Framework used some of the design patterns that WebSites such as Flickr and Laslo are using today. I developed a javascript based generic interface for WebServices WSDL parsing and requester using Flash Player. Another cool component was the generic Chart component which used the Movie concept to Flash Player to paint Pie, Line and Bar Charts without server round trips

Here is an image of some of the controls and a portal app -

TIBCO General Interface (RIA)

Check out Jon Udell's screencast showing a demo of the TIBCO General
Interface, a JavaScript/DHTML framework for building Internet Apps.

Screencast: (8 mins.)

The tool is built using a javascript based toolkit. Very cool and looks very detailed. Waiting to play with it once it is out.

My team did similar framework for WebSphere Application Developer 5.1.2. which was called the Browser Framework and JSF Javascript Emitters. I will cover that in another post.