January 24th, 2008
Portland Topic o’ the Day: XMPP
Seems like I couldn’t read a Portland feed today without encountering a reference to Portland-based Jive Software’s Matt Tucker and his post on XMPP, entitled “XMPP (a.k.a. Jabber) is the future for cloud services.”
It even hit the front page of Digg.
And finally it sunk in: if everyone in Portland is blogging about it, maybe, just maybe, it’s important.
First off… What is XMPP? The acronym stands for eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol. To be simplistic, think of it as XML for IM and buddy lists. (You don’t read this blog for the brilliance of my technical mind—and if you do, I have a few things to say to you—so if you’re interested in more, you could read Wikipedia’s XMPP entry or you could visit the XMPP Standards Foundation.)
But the buzz, today, is all about its potential.
In his post, Matt asserts:
[C]loud services aren’t real-time, won’t scale, and often can’t clear the firewall. So, it’s time we blow up those barriers and come to Jesus about the protocol that will fuel the SaaS models of tomorrow–that solution is XMPP (also called Jabber) . Never heard of it? In just a couple of years Google, Apple, AOL, IBM, Livejournal and Jive have all jumped on board.
Dawn Foster, also of Jive Software, continues the thread in her Fast Wonder post, “How XMPP (Jabber) Can Do So Much More Than IM,” mentioning:
I think it is about time we moved beyond the old model of polling and into new, more efficient paradigms. As we come to expect real time, always available tools on the web, we should be thinking about using real time collaboration technologies (like XMPP).
Justin Kistner of Metafluence and Beer and Blog highlights the post, as well.
And, word around the campfire is that Portland-based blogger, Marshall Kirkpatrick, is working on a post about it. (Which I’ll link up as soon as it hits.)
As promised, Marshall Kirkpatrick has published a very thoughtful and insightful piece on the XMPP discussion, entitled “Could Instant Messaging (XMPP) Power the Future of Online Communication?” which includes both arguments for:
Ask yourself what a decentralized, open source infrastructure for real time communication could offer. A lot. As an RSS-head, I’d love to see XMPP let my various RSS clients do more faster and get bogged down in fewer unnecessary activities. RSS is all about speed for me but clients can only do so much so often when they have to pester someone else’s server every time they want to check for new information. Those delays can be of real consequence.
And against the potential of XMPP:
First, so much of what’s already been developed is web-centric, based on http, that the options for mashup-fodder are relatively limited for XMPP….The second argument against this rosy picture of the future could be that open standards-based technology falls outside the profit model of many larger companies. If one vendor can corner their respective model with proprietary technology and charge a monopolist’s premium for superior service, then a standards based competitor will have their work cut out for them.
So, Portland—open source mecca we are—seems pretty excited about the potential here. Just a heads up for you, gentle reader, that XMPP might be in your future. Best get up to speed by reading the XMPP post that started the discussion.