IBM insider Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah has posted a marvelously detailed account of what's been done with the work that Halfbrain started: On rich web applications, AlphaBlox and Oddpost, in response to my previous posting. He has an intimate knowledge of and admiration for what the Halfbrain/AlphaBlox/Oddpost crew achieved, having been assigned the task of porting it to Mozilla last year for IBM's WebSphere Portal product (it appears that IBM licensed the Halfbrain technology from AlphaBlox as the basis for the "Simple Browser Productivity Components" the spreadsheet, presentation and rich text editors that now ship with the portal).
He outlines the history of the Halfbrain products and writes in knowledgeable detail about both how it was done then and how it can be done now. Interestingly, he says it is no longer necessary to write to Win/IE:
"Mozilla is now the best platform for doing such development. It has the best standards support, is cross-platform and has the best developer tools: DOM Inspector and Venkman, and perhaps even mindshare. In fact (market share be damned), it makes sense to first write your rich web app for Mozilla. Your code will be cleaner to start off, will be better structured and will most likely work in other browsers."
UPDATE [added July 17]: In the latest update to his musings on my recent posts (scroll down to the end of the link) Olivier Travers has raised the possibility that IBM may decide to buy BEA. This looks quite a credible outcome now. It would not only help to consolidate the app server market but also bring in some important technologies and skills in Adam Bosworth's developer team not just the Crossgain alumni but also the Westsiders they later acquired (see my February posting, Only Connect). We'll see what transpires.
Separately, an interesting aside from John Dowdell "it's just striking to see the emphasis put on the actual user experience" reminded me that it's worth reiterating just why the user experience is moving to center stage. Here's how I put it a couple of years back in a posting called Reaching out to users:
"... while some programmers get on with the glamorous work of building the standards, platforms and infrastructure of web services, others are quietly perfoming the hard, heroic slog of sweating the user interface. Their work will have its reward in the end, because convenience is something people will pay for. It deserves recognition too, because the web services grid is only as powerful as the number of nodes that can productively connect to it. Once the infrastructure is in place, the next great challenge will be to make all that connectivity and automation effortlessly accessible to the great mass of users."