Safari for Windows

Matt seems to me to have the answer for why Apple released Safari on Windows:

There is only one reason Apple released Safari for Windows and that is because they were forced to. By making the iPhone development environment web based apps only they had to release Safari for Windows so people could test their applications.”

As Justin Williams points out:

With the announcement of the iPhone SDK being based on Safari, Apple was forced to put Safari on Windows, so they could attract Windows developers to build iPhone applications. By having the barrier to iPhone development as low as, building a Web application, it wouldn’t make sense for Apple to only allow Mac using developers to build those applications.

Safari is a gateway to iPhone development.”

It may also explain why Apple chose to enforced their font rendering instead of using the native Windows sub-pixel approach ClearType.

Will ZFS be in Leopard?

So yesterdays WWDC’s keynote wasn’t exactly heavy on technical detail. And there isn’t anything on the Apple site. But there are some indications that Leopard OS X will support the ZFS file system.

Consider the following quotes from Apple’s description of Time Machine:

… what makes Time Machine different from other backup applications is that it not only keeps a spare copy of every file, it remembers how your system looked on any given day — so you can revisit your Mac as it appeared in the past.

And…

The first time you attach an external drive to your Mac, Time Machine asks if you’d like to use that drive as your backup. Say yes and Time Machine takes care of everything else. Automatically. In the background. You’ll never have to worry about backing up again.”

To me that sounds a lot like Time Machine is using ZFS Snapshots.

Snapshots are copies of the entire file system, they are not the same as backups; they are much more efficiency and they are faster. This is because a snapshot only stores the individual disk blocks that have changed, so it uses far less disk space than a traditional backup. Snapshots also happen instantaneously regardless of the size of the file system size, indeed the time it takes to create a snapshot is often so small that there appears to be no delay. In other words backups happen automatically. In the background. And the entire system is backed-up.

——

UPDATE
It seems that ZFS will not be the default system in Leopard (bugger), instead:

ZFS “is only available a read-only option from the command line,” according to an Apple spokesperson.

In a follow-up interview today, Croll explained, “ZFS is not the default file system for Leopard. We are exploring it as a file system option for high-end storage systems with really large storage. As a result, we have included ZFS — a read-only copy of ZFS — in Leopard.”

“Read-only means that at a later date, if there are ZFS volumes, those systems would be able to read ZFS volumes,” Croll added. “You cannot write data into the system. It will allow you to read ZFS volumes later.”

Future Of Web Apps, London – review

Future of Web Apps logoAs I mentioned previously I went to the Future of Web Apps conference this week. The conference had the usual mix of interesting, not so interesting and sales pitches – here then is my take on the interesting.

Simon Willison gave a great, very entertaining, presentation on OpenID – which for those that don’t know, is a framework for creating a decentralised service to manage your online identity. OpenID uses a single website URL, instead of a username and password, to identify yourself with a site. There are a number of OpenID providers or you can setup your own, if you’re that way inclined.

Over the last few weeks both AOL and Microsoft have come out in support of OpenID – and I would love the BBC to replace their Single Sign On service with OpenID. Anyway, at FOWA both Digg and Netvibes announced that they too will support OpenID, this is great news; I suggest you should take this as a sign to find out more – 2007 will surely see an increasing number of services adopting OpenID and new business models enabled by it.

Netvibes also announced that they will launch a Universal Widget API (UWA) with the objective of “build your module once, deploy everywhere [Vista, Mac, Google, Yahoo!]”. As part of the UWA Netvibes are releasing:

  • An open source Javascript runtime environment
  • A UI library for widgets
  • Netvibes also want to build a community of APIs

All interesting stuff but I fear that the UWA won’t be compatible with the proposed W3C widget standard which would be a real shame, anyway more information over at Techcrunch.

Other consistent themes included the importance of building an API into your web app from the outset, the use of attention data and being open and honest with your users; of these attention data is, to me, the most interesting.

When you pay attention to something, or when you skip it, data is created
(Matthew Ogle, Last.fm).

I suspect that we will start to hear a lot more about attention data in the coming year both in terms of functionality and generating revenue. For example, Flickr uses attention data to calculate which photos are ‘interesting‘: “We looked at how many times was a photo commented on, viewed, blogged about, and saved as a favourite” (Bradley Horowitz); or how Last.fm uses attention data to moderate the importance of user tags (if you listen to a piece of music your tags count more than if you don’t). And of course if someone knows what you pay attention to, and what you don’t, that data is incredibly valuable to advertisers.