Friday, May 01, 2009

Book - Web 2.0 Architectures

Is finally done. This book was the result of exhausting research into various aspects of what Web 2.0 really is. In short, this book is about Web 2.0 for those who do not merely acquiesce to it being explained as a series of buzzwords. We examine it from a pragmatic architectural standpoint.

Here is the copy review description:

This fascinating book puts substance behind Web 2.0. Using several high-profile Web 2.0 companies as examples, authors Duane Nickull, Dion Hinchcliffe, and James Governor have distilled the core patterns of Web 2.0 coupled with an abstract model and reference architecture. The result is a base of knowledge that developers, business people, futurists, and entrepreneurs can understand and use as a source of ideas and inspiration.
Full Description

Web 2.0 is more pervasive than ever, with business analysts and technologists struggling to comprehend the opportunity it represents. But what exactly is Web 2.0 -- a marketing term or technical reality? This fascinating book finally puts substance behind the phenomenon by identifying the core patterns of Web 2.0, and by introducing an abstract model and reference architecture to help you take advantage of them.

In Web 2.0 Architectures, authors Duane Nickull, Dion Hinchcliffe, and James Governor -- who have 40 years of combined experience with technical specifications and industry trends -- examine what makes successful Web 2.0 services such as Google AdSense, Flickr, BitTorrent, MySpace, Facebook, and Wikipedia tick. The result is a base of knowledge that developers, business people, futurists, and entrepreneurs can understand and use as a source of ideas and inspiration. This book reveals:

  • A Model for Web 2.0 -- An in-depth look at how the classic Client-Server model has evolved into a more detailed Web 2.0 model.

  • Web 2.0 Reference Architecture -- A generic component view that helps decision-makers recognize basic patterns in existing Web 2.0 applications-patterns that can be repurposed for other commercial ventures.

  • Specific Patterns of Web 2.0 -- How Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Software as a Service pattern (SaaS), Participation-Collaboration Pattern, AJAX, Mashups, Rich User Experience (a.k.a. RIA), Collaborative Tagging Systems (Folksonomy), and more can be used in your technology business.
  • We also present the reference architecture and patterns on their companion website so that people in the industry can augment it and continue the discussion.


    Wednesday, April 29, 2009

    Duane's World Episode 19

    After a brief pause, Duane's World 19 is now online.

    Getting Familiar with Flex Builder

    If you are new to Flex Builder, this video will help you understand the basics.

    Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    LiveCycle ES Hosted Beta is now Live!

    I got a great internal email today from Matt MacKenzie. In preparation for the next release of LiveCycle ES, Adobe is running a pre-release program and we invite you (see qualifier) to participate. We are providing our strategic customers and partners with early access to a hosted LiveCycle ES system on LiveCycle Developer Express to ensure an exciting and high quality release.

    What’s new?

    A vast number of improvements have been made to LiveCycle ES. A sample of some of the new features includes:

    · Improved development and authoring tools, including the introduction of Action Wizard in LiveCycle Designer and changes to Process Designer to make team development possible and process design more intuitive

    · Improved end-user experience development including LiveCycle ES Service Discovery for Flex Builder and a re-engineered Form Guide Builder

    · Improved support for document assembly of XDP-based documents as well as PDF Portfolios including a new Document Builder interface to generate DDX commands

    · Improved administration and platform maturity with improved backup and recovery support (hot backup), Health Monitor, expanded platform, database, and full 64 bit JVM support

    · Improved out of the box solutions for Review and Commenting workflows which include Content Services

    How do I get involved?

    The goal of this early preview of the next version of LiveCycle ES is to provide our preferred customers and partners with the opportunity to preview the next release of LiveCycle ES. By participating, you will have access to:

    · “What’s new” presentation

    · Feature Spotlights (short recording of LiveCycle ES engineers presenting the new features)

    · Access to your own hosted system with LiveCycle ES Server and Workbench pre-configured

    · Test cases that will guide you through the new product areas accompanied with a survey to collect your feedback

    While we always strive to drive quality releases, the goal of this early preview is to collect your valuable feedback on the usability enhancements that we have added to this new release. We will also be running a public beta in early summer to solicit testing and quality feedback.

    TO DO: Immediately register yourself in the pre-release program here <> to ensure you get access to this early preview of the next release of LiveCycle ES. Please note that it may take up to 24 hours to activate your account.

    How to get started?

    Once you have registered, you will receive an email confirmation with information on how to access the site. Adobe is taking another big step in cloud computing by offering you a completely hosted environment to test our early version of our next release. We have our site ready to go which will provide you with access to a hosted system, support forums, bug & enhancement logging and tracking, documentation, etc.

    Access to the hosted server on the LiveCycle Express system is very easy. Log on to the site where you will find a short welcome note. Here you will find a link to our Getting Started page that contains all of the information you need to get started with your very own hosted system.

    Some guidance:

    The prerelease site supports online forums. Please use the forums when you have a general question or suggestion that you feel other testers can benefit from. We would also encourage you to look at the forum posts prior to submitting a question, as someone may have already found an answer.

    If you have questions or need help, please contact me at dnickull at adobe dot com.

    We look forward to your feedback and appreciate the time and energy that is invested to help improve the quality and usability of our product

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    Search Engine Optimization Tricks and Tips condensed.

    I have written quite a bit on the subject of search engine optimization a.k.a. SEO. Not everyone agrees, nor do they all understand the depth of what is going on (including me) but there are many more points that the experts do seem to agree on. Since my posts on the subject are sort of all over the place, I have condensed them here. Of course, you can always go to and search for "search engine optimization tricks" and the articles should come up within the top ten or so. By the way, that particular term ("search engine optimization tricks") is one of the hardest to get in the top ten for since everyone who is really knowledgeable about SEO and does it professionally knows that their prospective clients search for that term. Me? I just give the advice away for free.

    Before anyone uses these to "trick" Google, know that doing so will often result in helping nobody. After all, what is the use of having a website selling some medication come up in the top ten results for someone seeking to read about golfing or fishing? Yes, you might be able to do this, but it will not benefit you and it will not benefit the readers so don't bother. I have said this before and will say it again, Google's ranking system is very fair and if you want your sites to do better, use proper enhancements, not black magic tricks. I have never had to resort to anything underhanded to gain #1 spots and keep them. Some examples? Search for these terms in Google and click to either the sites that points at this blog or back to SOA White Paper, Enterprise Developer Resources, Sombrio (goes to my friend's site), Search Engine Optimization Tricks, Adobe cloud computing, understanding REST, Adobe MAX 2009. Note that some of these will change over time (as they should) as new works become available. In the past, I have helped clients get #1 for bicycle, mountain bike, aromatherapy, yoga, skiing, mac and more.

    Here is a list of some relevant posts on the subject made in the past.
    Some tips related to Flash SEO.

    8 quick tips anyone can implement.

    A recap of a talk I did on Flash SEO at the Web 2.0 conference in Berlin. Slides included.
    Some general tips to save you work by really understanding some of what Google ignores.
    A video of how Ichabod indexes SWF content in different states. Note that as Beussery noted in the comments, this is now old and there are still major questions about how Google actually uses content it grabs.
    A report on Google's use of Ichabod (code name) for indexing SWF content.
    A pointer to a video tutorial of how Google tracks searching and click-through traffic.

    If this still is not enough, try Google's site. They pretty much tell you exactly what you will need to do to help elevate your rankings.

    There are also some other people who I consider of guru status (we don't always see eye-to-eye but generally they are very knowledgeable):

    Danny Sullivan

    Beu Blog

    Anyways, this is enough information to get you higher than you are now in the rankings.

    My next work is some trial studies to determine how well SWF content ranks against HTML content given the same context. This study is ongoing and has to be totally uncontaminated by people searching for or linking to it so I cannot divulge any secrets, but I will share all when ready.

    I am also working on cracking the codes within the Google page results. If you search for a term, you will find some cryptic strings within the source of the results page like this:

    Now note that this is often different on most geographical, temporal, and browser/OS combinations, but you can generally find these strings:


    The middle one, starting with AFQjCN will be in most search results however the 7th letter often changes. If I search in Vancouver, I nearly always get an "H" but others have experienced differences.

    I highly suspect that this is anti-spamdexing technology engineered by Google and returns a hash value based on an IP address and timestamp, making it impossible to gain click through success. It is probably impossible to get around or spoof but nevertheless presents an intriguing puzzle.

    I recently posted a challenge to a few people such as Danny Sullivan, Tim O'Reilly, Dick Hardt, Matt MacKenzie, and others to see what they got as the 7th character. The results varied.

    Google can track what you click on. This means that over time, search engine results can be tracked and dynamically adapted based on who clicks on what. The actual mechanism is far more complex than such a simple algorithm, however, as ontology classifications are mixed in along with other ways to determine how each result should be treated in future searches.

    Using a different machine and browser combination from a different IP address, I also found this little snippet of code in the source:

    a href="/url?q="
    in particular, compare the value of usg=AFQjCNHZFyB7San73Hj6Lb0zkcUbGq_N0g to this value


    Can it be a coincidence that the first 7 characters are the same? The odds against this are 52 to the power of 6 or better than 1 in one quadrillion +. This is based on only observing upper and lower case letters. If you include numeric values the number is much higher.

    When I clear my cache and cookies, the value changes yet the first 6 characters remain the same:


    If these values do not change, it is possible that the first 6 characters are based on some unmutable part. At first I thought perhaps it was the search itself so I changed the search term yet got this response:


    This is an interesting and probably ultimately pointless exercise, but I am the type who does crosswords and picks up Rubik's Cubes when I see them (best time to solve ever was 5'30" flat).
    Mental Masturbation? Perhaps. There is probably a document somewhere outlining exactly what it is but I prefer to figure it out on my own.