Co-founder, Vivid Turtle, LLC
Orbited is a highly scalable open-source Comet server, built by Michael Carter with some help from myself and a few others. As I see it, Orbited is Comet done right: built as a stand-alone component, which can be dropped into any existing application (with client APIs so far for Python, Ruby, and PHP, with Java, C#, C/C++, etc. in development), and treated as a black box which handles Comet communication with browsers. It is designed for flexibility, easily handling any type of Comet architecture, and working with any Comet transport. It works great with IE 5.01+, Safari 1.3+, Firefox 1.5+, Opera 8.5+, and can be easily extended to support whatever browser vendors decide to throw at developers in the next few years.
To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of web applications; I like desktop apps, with their richer interfaces and tighter integration with the system. But the web is ubiquitous, and there’s no use swimming against the tide, so if the world is going to use web apps, I’d prefer them to be as usable as possible.
Comet brings much of the power of desktop applications (specifically, interaction with other users, and real-time updates) to the web, without resorting to locked-in, non-standard, proprietary technology. And in the next few years, Comet is going to be huge; it’s already the dominant buzzword at business-oriented web conferences in 2007—in 2008, it is going to explode. We’ll see collaborative wikis, multiplayer games, contextual chats, real-time traffic and weather maps, etc., and the web will become even more social than it has been so far.
Sources of Inspiration
I’m inspired by the kind of long-distance real-time collaboration Doug Engelbart achieved in 1968. It’s been 39 years; let’s bring the same capabilities to everyone.