Stories by Jon Udell

Interfaces are habit-forming

The other day I had to send somebody a trio of multimegabyte TIFF files. She asked me to e-mail them. Instead, I figured I'd make things easier for her by uploading the files to my FTP site and e-mailing her the URLS. Bad idea. She tried to open the files in her browser, but being a Windows browser, it wouldn't recognize them.

Enterprise buses and dirt roads

The emerging focus on service-oriented architecture (SOA) is creating a fleet of buses. I'm hearing names such as enterprise service bus, universal web services information bus, enterprise information bus and message bus.

Don't segment desktop XML

My vocal support for the next version of Microsoft Office has drawn heat in various quarters. Naysayers are convinced that Microsoft will find some way to cripple the XML capabilities of Word, Excel and InfoPath. I've said they're wrong.

Open and global

I've begun exploring a set of interrelated themes that Andy Singleton has identified under the rubric of "IT deflation": a global pool of talent, a surplus of software components (often freely available), and the research and communication skills necessary to translate these resources into IT successes.

Developers are better when multilingual

Scripting languages such as Perl and Python are more productive than conventional languages such as Java and C# — except when they aren't. Likewise, Java and C# are more robust than their scripting cousins — except when they aren't.

Keep an eye on Mono

In July 2001 I attended a historic session on .Net at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in San Diego. David Stutz, who recently and spectacularly left Microsoft, spoke first.

Getting voice into the network

Speech is the defining human trait. Shortly after a speech-enabling gene called FOXP2 became fixed in the human genome 120,000 or so years ago, we became anatomically and culturally modern.

XML alone won't cure web security ills

SSO (single sign-on) should have been solved for the web circa 1997. At that time, all the major browsers could acquire and present digital IDs, and servers could read them.