An article from a game developer publication:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/33406/Hawkins_The_Browser_Is_The_Platform_Of_The_Future.php

At the Game Developers Conference last week, Electronic Arts and now Digital Chocolate (Millionaire City) founder Trip Hawkins worried that evolutions in the multiplatform space would pose major challenges for developers trying to earn money in emerging spaces.

The explosion of browsers onto mobile devices and the rise of cloud-based gaming can take much of the credit for why Hawkins, who was also Apple’s director of marketing prior to founding EA, believes that it’ll end up the game industry’s most central platform.

The browser has taken over 2 billion PCs–it’s going to be taking over a billion tablets over the next few years, billions of mobile devices,” he says.

And it’ll even enter new areas: “It will end up in my opinion very strong on the television. The browser is the platform of the future,” Hawkins adds.

Cloud-based rendering is increasingly enabling consumers to access content from a number of devices whether or not they own that content, thus “there is going to be enormous growth there,” he says.

Consumers will be able to integrate that content more persistently in their daily lives and want to remain engaged with it, versus traditionally when content was segregated to the living room or to a single computer.

He is saying what I have repeated several times in this blog – the application platform has moved from the desktop to the browser/tablet/phone connected to the Internet. And this trend will continue and accelerate.

QuickSilver runs in any JavaScript environment and is deployed from a cloud infrastructure (Google’s App Engine).

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Here is a news item from “Wired” that was published last year but which I have just become aware of.

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/04/apple-scratch-app/

About 40 years ago, tech legend Alan Kay invented the idea of a lightweight tablet computer that children could use to learn programming.

Apple’s iPad delivers on the tablet part of that vision — but the company has blocked a kid-friendly programming language based on Kay’s work from getting onto the iPad.

Apple removed an app called Scratch from its iPhone and iPad App Store last week. The Scratch app displayed stories, games and animations made by children using MIT’s Scratch platform, which was built on top of Kay’s programming language Squeak, according to MIT.

Steve Jobs took a tour of Xerox PARC in 1979, and some might even say that his visit is still unfolding with the release of the iPad tablet, which resembles Kay’s description of the Dynabook (illustrated at right).

Jobs this month personally mailed an iPad to Kay, who praised Apple’s tablet as “fantastically good” for drawing, painting and typing. But Kay declined to give his full evaluation of the iPad to Wired.com until his question of whether Scratch or Etoys — another educational programming language Kay developed for kids — would be usable on the device.

With the removal of Scratch from the App Store, for now the answer to Kay’s question would appear to be “No.”

“If you follow the chain of where Scratch came from, yes it is a Dynabook app, sadly not an iPad app,” McIntosh wrote in Apple’s developer forums.

McIntosh said that Apple removed the app because it allegedly violated a rule in the iPhone developer agreement — clause 3.3.2, which states iPhone apps may not contain code interpreters other than Apple’s. The clause reads:

An Application may not itself install or launch other executable code by any means, including without limitation through the use of a plug-in architecture, calling other frameworks, other APIs or otherwise. No interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s).

Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber, who first reported the removal of Scratch, explained that Apple’s intention with the “no interpreters” rule is to block meta-platforms such as Adobe Flash.

AFAICT, Apples clause 3.3.2 is still in force.

iPad is pretty much what Alan Kay described as the “Dynabook” concept. And, now that it is reality (in large part due to the influence of Smalltalk), Squeak Smalltalk won’t be allowed to run on it.

QuickSilver runs in the JavaScript environment and doesn’t require the installation of a separate VM. So, QuickSilver should be ok for the iPad, iPhone, Android, or any other device that supports JavaScript.

I am currently updating the QuickSilver libraries to ExtJs 4.0.

The site will be back to normal in a few days.

Form-to-Form Communication

Form-to-Form Communication

http://www.silversmalltalk.com/

In the image above, there are two browsers open – Safari on the left and Opera on the right.

In each of the browsers, there is a window called “Test Form” which was created with the form design tool that I have discussed in earlier posts.

At the bottom of each “Test Form” window, there are two buttons – “Send” and “Open” – and a text field with the name of a channel.

Pressing “Open” opens the communication channel; pressing “Send” sends the contents of the form to any other forms which are on the open channel.

In this test, I filled in some data in the Safari form and pressed “Send” – and the data immediately appeared in the Opera form.

Creating the test form took about 3 minutes and no knowledge of Smalltalk or JavaScript was required. Using the form is even easier – just open a channel, fill in some data, and press “Send”. And, of course, the other forms on the open channel can “Send” data back as well.

I have renamed the design tool to “QuickForms” and it will be increasingly used to build both tools and applications.

Form Designer Code Generation Test

Form Designer Code Generation Test

http://www.silversmalltalk.com/

The form window at the left was completely generated by the FormWindowDesigner tool shown at the right.

FormWindowDesigner does this by generating Smalltalk code from data developed during the design process. The Smalltalk code is then compiled into a Smalltalk class and methods. When using the tool, clicking “Save” will open the created form window and show the generated code in the Transcript.

Next steps are:

1) saving the generated code in a database file
2) adding channel and database behaviors to the generated form window

The same procedure will also enable building re-usable components and editing of existing windows and components.

As I have said in previous posts, using Smalltalk will enable the development of very sophisticated online tools and extremely rapid deployment of applications.

From today’s App Engine Blog:

The UK is gearing up for a very special wedding on April 29, when Prince William and Catherine Middleton will be married in Westminster Abbey in London.

Unlike many previous Royal Weddings, this event will have its own website – and we’re honoured that St. James’s Palace has chosen to use Google’s computing infrastructure to power the site.

http://eurodev.blogspot.com/2011/03/something-old-something-new-technology.html

http://www.officialroyalwedding2011.org/

QuickSilver Smalltalk is hosted on Google’s App Engine.

One of the reasons that I chose GAE was because of its scalability – you can scale to almost any size and you only pay for resources that you actually use. So, it is perfect for short term events that may have very large traffic spikes.

A royal wedding is this kind of event – for a few days, there may be millions of visits to the site and then traffic will dramatically decrease; and it is very hard to predict the traffic ahead of time.

The creators of the wedding site presumably have a very large budget so they could have used almost any hosting technology. And so, it is interesting that they chose to use Google’s App Engine.

Form Designer Test

Form Designer Test

http://www.silversmalltalk.com/

Above is an image of a “Form Window Designer” Test.

FWD is now available from the desktop context menu. You can add, remove, update, or move field definitions.

Items marked “Title”, “Class”, “Channel”, and “Database” will be used in the final window class creation.

The tool should be finished tomorrow.

Then we can start some Form-to-Form collaboration demos and some simple database support utilities.