Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Book review: The Live Web by Phil Windley
I am browsing through the book "The Live Web" by Phil Windley, whose sub-title is "Building Event-Based Connections in the Cloud". Phil sent me the book (with handwritten dedication), and starting from the back cover I liked his motivating examples: "Imagine a world in which your phone automatically mutes the ringer when you start watching a movie" (actually today my mobile phone rang when I was giving a talk, forgot to mute it) or another one "imagine a workd in which your alarm clock sets itself based on your schedule and other information like weather, traffic, and your past behavior" (I don't need much sleep so getting up early without alarm clock, and some members of my family have the habit to turn of the alarm clock and get back to sleep, but I am sure it is helpful for some people).
This reminds me of many examples that I used over the years to explain either event processing or autonomic computing (e.g. the refrigerator invited the technician and more). Phil's answer to realize these scenarios is what he calls "the live web", which according to him is the evolution beyond Web 2.0 which is still static web. I think terms like "the active Internet" or "The event web" was used before in a similar context. Much of the book deal with projection of event processing to the web interfaces,and working in web environment. Some of it is dedicated to events, their semantics, and operations around them. He also dedicates chapter to the current hot topics - cloud and mobile and connects them to the story of the live web. Phil also founded a start-up called Kynetx to implement these ideas, the book also describes their system and language in detail.
Overall - interesting book, both for those who want to understand the principles and those who wish to drill down on the details of how to build such applications (or learn the Kynetx stuff)... It is also another book that explain the principle of programming with events -- although we somewhat different perspectives of the other books.