A conversation with Max Carlson

Yesterday, Max Carlson and I were finally able to get together on the direction of this project and the related ropenlaszlo Rails plugin. Max has been instrumental in writing significant portions of OpenLaszlo, so it is a big deal that he agrees with my assertion that Rails can be the ultimate combination with OpenLaszlo for delivering Rich Web applications. He totally 'gets' Ruby and Rails and the potential of Laszlo on Rails.

I was quite impressed with the amount of code and work that went into the ropenlaszlo plugin and the contacts demo. There is a lot there, but we agreed that the following would make the Rails conference presentation, and the core functionality of the project, simply killer.

First, we need to be able to have a model retrieve its children, or child in the case of a 1:1 relationship. So, this means dynamic discovery of ActiveRecord relationships and retrieval, or not, of related models for all 4 AR relationships. See the most excellent Rails Reference for a rundown of those relationships. So, for example, the Rest controller will pull the addresses for a customer, or whatever other child elements belong to the customer, and put them into the XML dataset. We also briefly discussed schema retrieval in relation to this.

Secondly, an implementation of pub/sub using polling would allow all kinds of interesting distributed computing and communication options — everything from chat to collaboration on documents and data. If the persistent connection stuff is possible long term — and it is already in Java, so why not? — that is fine, but polling works for now.

Finally, the RailsConf demo must include video as the 3rd act reveal, the big crescendo, etc. I asked Max to give me a realistic assessment of OL's audio and video capabilities. Clearly, Pandora shows that audio on a massive scale is very doable, but I have not seen or heard much about Laszlo's video capabilities. Some of the langauge that surrounded the 3.3 release lead me to believe that there may be some deficiencies, but apparently Laszlo is capable of HTTP streaming of FLV's out of the box, and could also leverage open source video servers like Red 5 pretty trivially.

"I don't want to tell people, 'Hey, you could write Google Video this weekend,' if that is not the case," I said to Max.

"Yeah," Max said, "but you could!"

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4 thoughts on “A conversation with Max Carlson

  1. Good to hear things are moving on well. Here’s some help on the goals you mentioned:

    1) For the AR extrapolation stuff, check out the new Rails 1.1 to_xml method. ( http://www.railsmanual.org/class/ActiveRecord::Base/to_xml ) The :include parameter allows you to spit out first level associations in the xml — this should be enough to wow the crowds for your talk to start with, and gives us something to extend from after June.

    2) You could create a wrapper class that uses LzTimer to request a new dataset every x seconds. Hate to think what sort of load this would put on the server though!

    3) Sarah Allen posted to the OL User list recently (20th May) about video in OL. She linked to the wiki here: http://wiki.openlaszlo.org/Video It looks promising!

    Sadly I won’t be able to make the big event – will you be recording it? Of course, the bigger question is, now that OL has announced the DHTML runtime, are you renaming the talk? 😉

  2. I will absolutely be refactoring my entire vision of the talk, but the details remain a secret til the show. Thanks for your very valuable, as always, feedback!

  3. Hellooo

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  4. […] Georg has been playing around with Ruby, Rails and Cake lately. So today I found a great blog post in his blog talking about the integration of Cake with OpenLaszlo. With a nice comment from Max Carlson. Max is heavily involved with OpenLazslo programming and Laszlo on Rails (LoR). Integrating OpenLaszlo with PHP in such a way would surely boost the popularity of OpenLaszlo in Germany. The number of PHP programmers is so high. For them it’s a problem to be dependent on the Tomcat server or other servlet containers on the backend side. Looks like there’s another interesting project starting. And the best thing is to see that the OpenLaszlo/StructuredBlogging connection is working. LZX, Programming, Rich Internet Application, Ruby, Structured Blogging Web 2.0 […]

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