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Place is a Java Interface, not a UI
Posted by Bill Venners on August 04, 2000 at 2:40 PM
> I enjoyed reading your article "First steps in Cyberspace" but
> I found it a little odd that your place services are little
> more than 'folders' containing icons representing links to
> further services / web pages. My first reaction is 'Huh? - you
> could do that better with URL's and HTML'.
Be aware that Place is an interface implemented by a service
object, and what looks like a folder to you is a UI that
grants users access to the Place functionality offered by
the service object. If you don't know what I mean by that,
please refer to the Service UI specification:
The Place API will say nothing about how links should be
presented to users via UIs. The Place API will only speak to
how service objects can contain links to other resources on
the network. A UI to a Place service can look like a folder,
as in the demo, or it could look like a web page, or it could
not look like anything and be a speech-only UI, etc. For a
real example, take a look at the ColorSchemer service UI,
which is also shown on the First Steps in Cyberspace
article. ColorSchemer is a Place, because its service object
implements Place. And I doubt you think ColorSchemer looks
like a folder.
> I do not agree that something which looks like a folder is a place, just another kind of document, and a poorer document than a web page. I think that cyberspace has to make use of our innate understanding of space, of connectedness, i.e. it has to be 3D, that's what I think. But even using 3D to make information spaces more easy to use has its difficulties (*). So in conclusion I think that using the term 'Cyberspace' is great on marketing, low on substance, true Cyberspace a la Neuromancer / The Matrix will only occur when VR / AR technology is wideplace, and even then it may not be as useful as it's purported to be.
The Cyberspace project at jini.org is not about 3D, its about
defining an API that enables network mobile objects to link
to other resources on the network, and a recognition that this
simple act will create for users a space metaphor for the
network. By space metaphor, I don't mean flying around in
virtual 3D worlds. I mean: to do something on the web, you
go to a place and use an object.
> (*) See Jakob Nielsen's article: "2D is Better Than 3D": http://www.useit.com/alertbox/981115.html
Thanks for this link.