Even a chimp can write code

Thursday, February 08, 2007

In search of the smokin' pipe

When I first heard of Yahoo! Pipes it evoked memories of the brilliant conception from Sun Microsystems of JXTA - pronounced Juxtapose - from a few years ago. I remember being really excited about an idea whose time had come: JXTA was UNIX Pipes on steriods. Of course, there's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip. The fact that almost no one has heard of JXTA six or so years since, is really telling. I do think Y! Pipes is a cool idea though. I have had trouble accessing that site until a few minutes ago. Even now, not all "popular" sample pipes seemed to function. Yahoo is working on increasing capacity after site had a period of downtime ostensibly due high demand on the servers.

There's a lesson to be drawn here for all of us pundits who think web apps will just replace desktop apps this weekend while we aren't noticing. It's one thing to move an app to the web and totally another to make it scale. A Google executive was quoted in this Reuters story as saying:
The Web infrastructure, and even Google's (infrastructure) doesn't scale. It's not going to offer the quality of service that consumers expect.
Companies everywhere are working on solving these tough problems in a variety of ways. Until we learn how to scale serious applications, they'll continue to be written for and executed on the desktop. Tip to those of us that work to further the cause of desktop apps: Don't let this lull you into complacence. Things could really change this weekend.

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