Monday, November 21, 2005

Ray Ozzie Taking Lotus to Microsoft?

Ray's blog entry yesterday has an interesting section in which he alludes to making use of the method behind Notes replication to achieve a new extension for feed syndication (as an end-game to allow more open calendar sharing). My first thought is that it's cool that Ray Ozzie is taking some Notes technology to Microsoft. But then, especially with the underlying premise of this RSS extension being Notes Replication, we should start to worry that more of the replication technology could seep into Microsoft and that one day they may have a functional, robust cluster technology like Lotus.

Here is the section in question:

This got me to thinking about simplicity. Notes had just about the simplest possible replication mechanism imaginable. After all, we built it at Iris in 1985 for use on a 6Mhz 286-based IBM PC/AT with incredibly slow-seeking 20MB drives. We were struggling with LIM EMS trying to make effective use of more than 1MB of memory. Everything about the design was about implementation simplicity and efficiency. So if simple is the goal, why not just adapt the Notes replication algorithm to this need? Notes "notefiles" could be analogous to RSS "feeds"; and Notes "notes" could be analogous to RSS "items"; and Notes "items" could be analogous to XML "elements".

I don't konw if that's a jab at Lotus or not. I can see the press - "Ray Ozzie says Notes is simple!"

Notefiles replicate by using a very simple mechanism based on GUID assignment, with clocks and tie-breakers to detect and deterministically propagate modifications. Something like this could easily be represented in XML. Notefiles replicate with one another in a decentralized, masterless manner; feeds could be "cross-subscribed" in a similar manner. There's no magic to it once you know specifically what you're trying to accomplish, but it certainly helped to have an existence proof.

Here he said that Notes is the existence proof of his concept. Basically, Notes has been capable of doing for years what Microsoft is now trying to implement via an RSS extension.

And so we created an RSS extension that we refer to as Simple Sharing Extensions or SSE. In just a few weeks time, several Microsoft product groups and my own 'concept development group' built prototypes and demos, and found that it works and interoperates quite nicely.

We’re pretty excited about the extension - well beyond the uses that catalyzed its creation. It’s designed in such a way that the minimum implementation is incredibly easy, and so that higher-level capabilities such as conflict handling can be implemented in those applications that want to do such things.

Get that? Higher-level capabilities such as conflict handling can be implemented. It seems that I know of another product that also handles replication conflicts.

Now Playing: "Crushing Day" by Joe Satriani

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