Archive for June, 2005

Bun, Tea and Bubbly

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

A gentle satirical imitation of the Bollywood movie, Bunty Aur Babli
via an e-mail from “DJ”.

The sad demise of WSDL

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

WSDL is a core part of WebServices standard, but has become more of multi-headed monster. The problem — In order to be generic enough for a refrigerator to find and bind to a WebService advertised by a microwave, the WSDL specification has become incomprehensible and is now touching the 140-page mark.
Probably, the chair leaders and the participants forgot to read the charter. I quote, “Focus must be put on simplicity, modularity and decentralization.”
No wonder, alternatives (SSDL, SMEX-D, NSDL etc.) are springing up and Tim Bray (co-author of the original XML 1.0 spec.) is already calling it quits on WSDL.

Ajax: Cleaner, Simpler, and Interactive User Interfaces

Monday, June 13th, 2005

I never thought geeks love fancy four letter words, until Ajax happened. Since this term Ajax was coined (more than the happening of Google Maps, GMail etc. ), there has been a renewed interest in XML, Javascript, and DHTML from the perspective of XML binding as native Javascript objects (DOM) and ability to make ad-hoc HTTP requests after a page load (without refreshing the page). However, the technique of refreshing partial content on the page is not new, websites have been doing this with IFRAMEs, etc. to achieve the desired effect. But, it was more of a hack than clean programming.
Before Ajax was born, Microsoft engineers were cranking (1,2) on XMLHttpRequest objects on their MSDN website, and the outlook webclient for exchange. Now (since there is a lot of hype), I remember reading an article in MSDN Magazine which I finally found on the web. Also, to my surprise I found the following piece of Javascript code (thanks to Google Desktop) lurking in my hard-drive of an old desktop. I have no clue which website I copied it from! Anyway, this was my first working Ajax code:

var req;
function processReqChange() {
    if (req.readyState == 4) {
        if (req.status == 200) {
            } else {
            alert("Request Borked: +

function loadXMLDoc(url) {
    if (window.XMLHttpRequest) {
        req = new XMLHttpRequest();
        req.onreadystatechange = processReqChange;"GET", url, true);

Above is a very rudimentary code. I don’t even know, if it’s going to work on “all” the browsers.
Doing things the Ajax-way was Javascript’s original goal — but the movement got muffeled by usability pundits and reluctance of companies to piss-off customers who were using the old browsers.
Anyway, there is a good pickup (Ajax has been slashdotted plus there are dedicated blogs) on Ajax. However, there is a lot to be solved with the rest of the web. As Adam Bosworth points out; we still need to solve three fundamental problems viz. Fixing printing of web pages, making the browser listen for external events and having a web application run offline. I think we may be able to get a handle on the last one with Greasemonkey user scripts.
Next part — my Greasemonkey endeavours (I actually wrote some working code mixing Ajax & Greasemonkey with some offline content).

Why Crunch Mode Doesn’t Work: 40-hour week is king

Wednesday, June 1st, 2005

Sidney Chapman proposed the following model to quantify the lost productivity due to overwork:

Interpreted simply, the graph tells us that the productivity “P” decreases as the length of the working day increases. Surprisingly, after reaching an inflection point “b”, negative productivity kicks in. No wonder, more bugs are introduced in a relatively healthy code to address last-minute fixes.
IGDA analyzes the pitfalls of the crunch, and why it should be avoided.
Things to do today:
1. Leave for home at 5p
2. Drive at 55 MPH
3. Re-run the Swades CD
4. Take the kids to Tidelands trail, again