Written on 1:00:00 PM by S. Potter
Since yesterday afternoon (my time) all over the Twittersphere (and blogosphere) I kept hearing a ton of great reviews of the Google Wave API/protocol and how it will revolutionize communication and collaboration on the web.
This morning I watched the Google Wave demonstration from yesterday and I have to say I am completely underwhelmed considering everyone else's reactions were ridiculously positive and had nothing measured or thoughtful to say about it.
You can find my initial reaction of it, "Google Wave is just a simple XMPP extnesion", on my tumblelog.
As someone that has had to write XMPP extensions for clients and my own internal apps, servers, API interfaces (mostly distributed monitoring of services, but a few more for media processing) I am saddened that anyone would think the current Google Wave protocol (which is just an XMPP extension) is extraordinarily ground breaking. There have been a number of existing extensions that tried to do VERY VERY similar things already and specific features of Google Wave were already exactly defined.
What made the demonstration of Google Wave yesterday appear so impressive were the applications: the wave client and the web embedding. The responsiveness of the web application really made it stand out, NOT the underlying Google Wave protocol/API.
For those who have never really gotten their hands dirty with XMPP in any real technical way, I expected they would not really know what it already provided in XMPP. Many "geeks" hyping up Google Wave seemed to think XMPP only supported instant messaging. That just happened to be the most popular and apparent XMPP extension, which many people call Jabber. XMPP itself is a lot more far reaching than just an instant messaging protocol and the fact that Google Wave was based on top of XMPP should tell you how flexible it is. Yes that is right, Google may not have really made a big deal about it (why would they if they can get extra credit when it isn't due), but Google Wave is just an XMPP extension and compared to other extensions I have had to interface with, not a particularly complicated one.
Sure the applications that Google demonstrated as part of the Google Wave presentation were nifty for personal communication, but are they really ground breaking, multipurpose, or ubiquitous? No, it is only as ground breaking, multipurpose and ubiquitous as it's applications make it.
Let us all now return to earth for a moment and praise Google for the things they do really well like web applications, but let us not pretend that Google is the mover and shaker in terms of the visionary of future underlying protocols. They still advocate developing HTTP applications for the future.
HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is virtually on every digital device made by man today, but does it really lend itself to providing the distributed service oriented architecture we should be striving for and the protocol of the future? REST is not about the HTTP protocol. RESTful APIs can be creating in a number of ways and through a lot of different protocols.
My take is (from a technical level) XMPP ought to be the protocol of the future, NOT XMPP on just the back-end and then adding tons of bloatware in between the client and the service just so that we can create an API or UI on top of an antiquated protocol (HTTP) that has seen better days.
Anyone want to create a truly modular XMPP "browser" for the new "web" with me? Email
net if you want to join the future.
UPDATE: Please subscribe to the "Join the Future" Google Group if you want to get involved in the XMPP browser project.