The Live Web is Live!


Summary

I'm very pleased with how my new book, The Live Web, turned out and extremely excited about the ideas in it. I hope you'll read it, comment on it, review it, and try the ideas out. Undoubtedly, the future will turn out different than I've envisioned it, but I think we have an obligation to try to influence the design the emerges.

My book, The Live Web: Building Event-Based Connections in the Cloud, has been released and is on Amazon. Having the book actually available is great, although slightly anti-climatic after the thrill of just being done last November. :)

The book is my look at the future. When Eric Schmidt talks about a personalized house or we contemplate how commerce or health care will change in a completely connected world, that's the Live Web.

Buying the book: If you are going to order a copy from Amazon, do be a favor and order it on Friday, January 13th. I'm trying to get the book to move up the rankings--if only for a day.

Here's an excerpt from the Introduction:

For many years, pundits have foreseen a world in which everything will be connected to the Internet. We're getting there. We now have Wi-Fi--enabled refrigerators, thermostats, and bathroom scales. But what happens after things are online? Will they merely connect to the Internet or will they connect to each other?

Connecting everything we use--products and services--to each other is a powerful idea. An idea that is bigger than mobile and social. Mobile's big because everyone is connected all the time. Social is big because we're connected to each other. Connecting us to everything around us is the next step.

Connecting our things to each other and setting them to work on our behalf is transformative. Imagine a world in which your phone automatically mutes the ringer when you start watching a movie. Imagine a world in which your alarm clock sets itself based on your schedule and other information like the weather, the traffic, and your past behavior. Imagine a world in which the mundane parts of business travel or scheduling an appointment with a new doctor are automatically taken care of according to your preferences. That world is the Live Web.

The Live Web: Building Event-Based Connections in the Cloud is a book about specific concepts, architectures, and technologies you can use to build Live Web experiences. This book is not easy; it requires that you think about Web programming from a brand new perspective. That's hard for any of us. I have no business asking that of you unless there is a big payoff. There is: I believe the ideas and techniques in this book will help you build brand new types of Web experiences unlike those you can create using traditional Web technologies or languages like PHP or Rails. Don't let this intimidate you. While this book asks a lot, the ideas are familiar and their application is engaging and fun.

The premise of this book is simple, but profound: The Web of the future--the Live Web--will link our lives in ways we can hardly imagine..and you can start building that Web today. While the request-response programming model we've been using has led to incredible applications and services, we can do more with a new model that complements--rather than replaces--the thinking that has led us so far. That new model is based on events.

Whereas today's Web sites are about users interacting with relatively static pools of data, the cloud is giving us a brand new kind of data: data that is flowing, moving, and real-time. Data that links sites and services together. The cloud is about way more than just APIs to data and services--as important as that is. At its best, the cloud creates real-time interactions enabled by streams of data. The problem is that this kind of data doesn't look like a request. Consequently using the tried and tested tools we've used to build Web services won't take us where we need to go. Event-based interactions are the perfect model for taming these rivers of dynamic data and creating applications that make the most effective use of them.

Event-based applications are more loosely coupled than those built using a request-response model. I cannot overstate the case for loose coupling. As we move to a world in which more and more applications must coordinate their actions on our behalf, there is simply no way that we can pre-plan and orchestrate all the required interactions between them. Using systems that are supportive of and are architected for loosely coupled applications will play an important role in enabling the cloud-based future we envision.

This may seem a little overwhelming, but I have a secret weapon to help you out: a new programming language. I know what you're thinking, "Wait, I've got to think differently about the Web and learn a new language too!?!" But in fact, I think the language helps, rather than hurts.

Tools shape how we think and work. I learned long ago that the best way to think differently about a problem is to create a nomenclature that describes and illuminates the new domain. In this book, you'll use a language called the Kinetic Rules Language (KRL) to channel your thinking for this new model. KRL will lead you into the world of event-based programming on the Web.

KRL is a rule-based language that is custom built for the domain of event-based applications that operate on real-time data in the cloud. KRL was designed from the ground up with events and the cloud in mind. KRL provides a number of familiar touch-points for users already accustomed to Web programming and JavaScript, but provides a framework for making the most of an evented Web. While KRL is open and runs on an open source rules engine, you can get started with it right away using a cloud-based service.

While the ideas and techniques in this book can be implemented in any language, there is significant value in using a purpose-built language to guide our thinking. Remember, the ultimate value you will gain from this book isn't learning any specific programming language, but in forcing your thinking down a new road--one in which events, rather than requests, reign supreme.

I'm very pleased with how the book turned out and extremely excited about the ideas in it. I hope you'll read it, comment on it, review it, and try the ideas out. Undoubtedly, the future will turn out different than I've envisioned it, but I think we have an obligation to try to influence the design that emerges. The Live Web is my best thinking about how to do that.

Update: Some people have asked about a Kindle edition. There is a Kindle edition coming, but I don't know when it will be available.