Thursday, October 26, 2006

Real-time utterances

Interestingly, Janne asks if the web is not slowly but surely discovering the other side: real-time communication. I find the question interesting because it is a confirmation sign of a changing mind set. The web as it has been defined and implemented is about references and location of resources. Obviously, the recent development of feed technologies over HTTP has allowed to venture at the fringe of real-time communication. But this is, in my opinion, more a technology 'long tail' than long term engineering and efficient use of resources.

If the web is to become more than just a clumsy avatar of real life, it must encompass our inherent thinking and communicating capabilities. On the web, communication and references are two complementary sides of the way we express ourselves. It is the presence of different contexts that make information, events or transition in information states meaningful.

As communication and references differ and serve different but equally important purposes they need to be supported by appropriate tool sets. HTTP is the undisputed champion on the reference side. On the real-time communication and presence side, I believe XMPP is gaining enough traction to become the next protocol that counts: open, free (i.e not supported by any commercial consortium) and easy to implement and extend.

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