Jan 17, 2006

PILE and user interfacing

Apple's NeXT (as I understood it from some info available on the net) was in its object oriented fashion working in a slightly similar direction as PILE. At least in so far as it allowed to exchange information easily between applications based on its object orientation which greatly facilitated communication between appliactions themselves and application and operating system. Mac OS X has inherited some features from NeXT, but apparently (afaik) lacks this ease of interactzion between program data respectively objects as it is based on BSD which is not an object-oriented system from the ground up.

Nelson "applitudes" are a great conceptualization of how computers should work: they allow to manipulate data on the basis of a separate set of data without enclosing these data into application (and vendor) specific formats. The latter greatly reduce the usability and economics of using computer applications, because conversion / transfer of data is time consuming and thus economically and psychologically costly.Personally I did not buy many program precisely for that reason. Paper and pencil or mind and keyboard plus copy and paste from text-files are often still quicker than working with enclosed data.

One big promise in the PILE endeavor is that PILE allows to work with data in a context dependent fashion: if some data occur in a specific context than they can be handled differently than when they occur in another context of relations.THINK APPLITUDES.

PILE would in principle allow to realize such applitudes based on a layer above the relation-network that contains user data. The question then is how primary and meta data are handled. In principle PILE does not require a separation between data and meta data. In practice existing applications will have to be able to work with PILE as well which requires them to understand PILE data and separate primary from meta-data or PILE to provide program specific data interfaces.

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