Think Spring

A customized Spring book object
Books are one of the object types you can place on a Spring canvas, associate actions with, and trade (mainly, for now, by way of AIM) with other Spring users. When I first began writing about my LibraryLookup project a few months ago, Spring's creator Robb Beal wrote to me suggesting that he add LibraryLookup to the list of context menu actions associated with a Spring book object. When I noticed that Spring 1.2 didn't yet include that action, I decided to see for myself how this integration could be achieved. It was remarkably easy. There's almost no documentation for Spring, but none was needed. Nor, as it turned out, were any OS X or AppleScript skills required. Although it runs only on OS X today, Spring objects are wired together using the basic principles that I know and love: URL-based services, XML data, pipelined transformations. [Full story at O'Reilly Network.]

This was a fun project! And now the Mystery Bookmarklet ( #) is explained. Something tells me we'll see a lot more of this pattern:

  1. Useful XML objects are invented,

  2. object factories are built,

  3. the factories become URL-addressable.

Sometimes the production and consumption of these objects takes the form of Web services. Sometimes it just behaves like the Web. "What a marvelous time to be an XML guy," said Don Box, after offering Jean Paoli's red pill to Clemens Vasters. It's also, I hope, about to become a marvelous time not to have to be an XML guy. Drag an URL onto your universal canvas. An object materializes. You can hand it to your friends. It can do useful things. Angle brackets? Nowhere in sight.

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