WARNING: This blog contains random thoughts on technology, software engineering, and general all-round nerdery. Read at your own risk. Nerd is contagious.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Keeping up with the Joneses

Somehow, AOL is always playing catch up. Even when we are ahead, we end up in the back of the pack. Why do we lose momentum so fast? We're like a Ferrari that weighs 2 tons*.

I really do think that what we've done with Boxely is great. We've solved some very important problems when it comes to dynamic UI (and possibly created others ;)), and we've managed to keep it extremely easy to use. Yet, our management priorities are on serving our main clients, AIM and OpenRide, not actually extending the platform to 3rd parties. That's fine, but you set yourself up for things like this and this to come and recover all the ground you made.

Latest bad news: The FineTune Desktop player made by Adobe Apollo.
I tell you, this should've been us....
*this is why we're good going downhill ;)


Blogger Twinsen said...

Hi Rizwan. Have to say I have a different perspective altogether. As to the primary motivation for devoting three or four years of my life to Boxely... it was simply because the internal tools and technology at AOL were lacking. And I was honestly sick of seeing how easy it was to build dynamic interface in Flash, but not any of the off the shelf UI toolkits.

It was never our intent to build for the masses or to build something crazy generic, an API for all to consume. That's just not in the scope of AOL really - it isn't a software company. Microsoft and Macromedia/Adope went into their charter with exactly those goals in mind (public development platform), and they were staffed accordingly.

We did wonders with our (on average) 5-7 person development team. And I feel ya - when you do something cool like that at a company that doesn't "get it", my only regret is that we couldn't share it further (as open source), but hey, "mission accomplished" as far as the original intent.

But hey, flash forward roughly five years and good news, the tools and apis are coming around - and in fact have landed (robustness to come soon after one can hope). So just enjoy the ride and take some of the lessons learned on to the next project (or take Boxely where to toolkit has gone before!).


5:03 AM

Blogger Twinsen said...

Main point, mispelled... that was "or take Boxely where n-o toolkit has gone before".

5:05 AM


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