Tim O'Reilly on Apple's Rendezvous & Cooperation. One of the things I'm most excited about is Apple's new Rendezvous technology, which allows applications and devices to automatically find each other when in local or logical proximity. This is an idea that a lot of people have been working on for four or five years. As usual, Sun Microsystems was way ahead of the curve. Bill Joy, who's one of the real visionaries of the industry, saw the need pretty early on. The whole JINI project was about this idea of devices being able to find each other and just work together.
But like a lot of first implementations, I think JINI had too much baggage with it. Sun's continued to work at it, with JXTA being the latest incarnation. There's also been a lot of innovation in the P2P file-sharing space in the last couple of years that is very relevant. A lot of it didn't quite go anywhere, but some of the ideas became mainstream. Microsoft and Intel are also working on something called Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). What's very nice about Rendezvous, though, is that it is so simple. It leverages a lot of the existing Internet infrastructure and provides an elegant solution for the question, “How do you get devices and programs to seamlessly find and see each other?” It's simple enough that I expect an awful lot of hackers to pick up on it. The fundamental idea of Rendezvous is that you shouldn't have to configure computers to work together. It's part of a paradigm shift that I've been talking about a lot lately. We're moving from assuming that a computer is a stand-alone device to assuming that it's a network citizen.
The Internet has been at the forefront of the industry's efforts for the past decade, but from a paradigmatic point of view, it was largely framed as an add-on to a personal computer. But now a personal computer is becoming part of a larger mesh of computers and devices that come and go, with a mesh of services that come and go, and application design is starting to reflect that realization. With Rendezvous, Apple has come up with a very, very simple architecture that I can see a lot of people leveraging. [Smart Mobs]