By eweek  |  Posted 2004-02-19 Print this article Print

BOSWORTH: That Im not ready to talk about yet. eWEEK: OK, but the SDO [Service Data Objects] spec itself has some uses in the mobile world?
BOSWORTH: SDO is obviously useful plumbing for building a data model. Its not a data model per se, but its useful plumbing because it tells you how you could cache the information in general way.
What we found is there is often common interest between us [BEA and IBM] at the plumbing level. To my point of view you build the front end and you make sure the developer doesnt have to know about the plumbing. But you still need the plumbing. So there are places where we can work together, but we obviously compete in others. eWEEK: OK, youre currently working on a project you said you wanted to demo at the XML show but didnt. Is it internal and strictly BEA or are you working with partners on it? BOSWORTH: I always do both. One of the ways we compete with bigger guys at a technical level is we take advantage of the fact that we dont try and do everything and it gives us a lot of natural colleagues who are threatened by Microsoft or IBM. And so very naturally they tend to team up with us given any degree of civility on our part and any degree of a promise that we wont go in there space, because they dont get that from IBM or Microsoft. So pretty much everything that we do tends to involve some outside partners that normally our competitors couldnt get, because our competitors tend to compete with them. eWEEK: You mentioned SyncML and you said you had plans for it or that it needed to be enhanced. Can you expand on that? BOSWORTH: Well, again, thats a classic partner thing. Were starting to talk to Nokia and others about this. SyncML works very well if I want to use it to synchronize my contacts or my address book or my mail. Very well is relative, but its a standard. In general I believe standards are not designed to be pretty , theyre just there to enable stuff. The thing it doesnt work so well for is when you have a cache where youre throwing stuff out that you need back. For example, I have a project and that project has a set of tasks that make up the project. And I have the project out here and I throw out some of the tasks. Meanwhile, some of the tasks that I did or didnt throw out have changed out in the real world and I want to synchronize. At that point, the normal SyncML assumes it knows exactly what was on my device and it just has to tell me about whats new. And it assumes it knows it because it has some version number and it knew what the world looked like as of that version number. And therefore all it has to know is what version number my device had and it can tell me whats new. That model doesnt work in the scenario I described because it doesnt know whats on my device because I threw stuff out. And because I threw stuff out it needs to get more information from my device to efficiently tell me what I needed to know. And I threw it out because I cant put the entire web on any device, so any architecture that I have has to be able to cache to an arbitrarily small size. So thats where SyncML needs some work. I think its a highly doable thing to extend it. eWEEK: Do you think we need a set of RSS spin-off specifications? Like Jeremy Allaire has proposed something called RSS Data… BOSWORTH: I need to go talk to Jeremy about it. I was actually going to come out to Boston and do it last month and I got sidetracked. I think that we need some way to describe an information model. Whether what Jeremys doing is right I dont know yet until I can talk to him and take a harder look. I think what we need is a generalization of RSS. But theres one thing thats not in RSS formally enough for me and thats this idea of links. RSS obviously does have the idea that there are resources, but… So let me explain what I mean. I mean context links. For example, given the project I want the tasks. Now thats a link. Thats a link that has context. The context is the project, and I want a generalization of that. So that not only can I describe my data, I can describe how to traverse links in that context. And I need to see if Jeremy is doing that. If he is, great. Ive already talked to Kevin Lynch at Macromedia about working with him on this because it would be a natural thing to use behind Flash and Royale and what have you as well—as they move toward a model where some of the data is moved to a device. Jeremy is a smart guy and I hope I can work together with him. It would double the IQ that I have to employ on it. He did it on ColdFusion a long time ago, which at the time was very innovative. I tried to buy it when I was at Microsoft, and Jeremy turned me down and later sold for a lot more money to Macromedia. eWEEK: What do you think of Microsofts Indigo. Were you at the PDC where they unveiled it?


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