Monthly Archives: June 2011

Why iCloud isn’t Going to Kill Dropbox

One of the most exciting new features in iOS5 is the iCloud. It is a very cool way of easily making it possible for iOS applications to sync data to the cloud. Apple provides an easy to use API which makes the remote saving of data as easy as saving a file locally.At a first glance in would seem that this would be the dropbox killer. A really frequent use case for many people is for dropbox to be used with their iDevices. Using dropbox to store their data remotely.

Apple as usual isn’t chasing what their competitors do. Instead they are walking their own walk, and doing what makes sense in their environment. They aren’t trying to provide the general file storage and sharing capabilities that dropbox provide, instead focussing on making it easy for a single “application” and “user” to share it’s files between devices. The advanced folder sharing capabilities of dropbox, and the independence of files and applications provided, aren’t given by iCloud. Apple let’s you store your stuff on the cloud, but keeps things “sandboxed” to your application.

There’s three key terms above: application, user, and sandbox.

  1. An application is defined by the application key provided by apple. Each application has it’s own unique key.
  2. A user is specified using an Apple ID. appleid.apple.com . This is the id that you use for interacting with apple to do things like buy stuff from iTunes etc.
  3. A sandbox is a way of providing limited access to a particular resource. The apple sandbox is a tight one, coupled to the application id. Applications on iOS devices have the ability to interact with files on the local filesystem, but only within their local sandbox. They are not able to share files between applications.

The sandbox has been continued with iCloud. Applications can only access files within their own sandbox. While it is possible to share files between a laptop, an iPhone and a iPad easily, it is not possible to share files between two different applications. Also iCloud does not support sharing files between users. These two key limitations are why iCloud is not going to replace dropbox.

The Book of CSS3 A Developer’s Guide to the Future of Web Design By Peter Gasston

As on of the contributors to TinyMCE, it’s important for me to be well on top of CSS for two reasons, first to ensure that we support CSS well for our customers, and second to ensure that we leverage it well for the product.

The book of CSS3 presents the new features included in CSS3 in a readable, well written style.  I found interesting and noteworthy points in almost every chapter. Some of the particularly valuable topics follow. The coverage of media queries and web fonts particularly interesting, particularly since I was recently talking with a customer about cross platform friendly fonts. The chapters on selectors and pseudo elements were also interesting and add some more useful tools to the shed. The CSS appearance attribute has very exciting implications for accessibility (expect a blog post soon with some more thoughts and an example). The collection of tools and resources tucked away in the appendices at the end are well worth a looks well, as is the books companion website (http://thebookofcss3.com/).

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in what’s possible now with CSS3 or what’s coming soon. Take a look through the table of contents to get a quick idea then dive deep to really learn. I’d almost go as far as to say that anyone who is doing front end development must read this book.

[This book was reviewed as a part of the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program]

Pujols More Than the Game By Scott Lamb, Tim Ellsworth

I’ve long enjoyed reading books about people who have been publicly successful in some form or another. I particularly enjoy being inspired and challenged by people who manage to live a full life with their faith in the public sphere.

I’ve been a bit hit and miss with my baseball watching over the years. I’ll periodically pop in and watch some of the playoffs, but I’e not watched much at all since the years when the Blue Jays were winning last century. I hadn’t really heard much of Pujols, so I was quite interested in the book.

Pujols, More Than a Game presents the career and life of Pujols. It does a good job of highlighting his successes, and filling in the details of his career and life. I found the sections on Pujols personal life and faith informative and inspiring. In particular his attitude and conversations around first base are awesome. I’m grateful to hear of his generosity, and how much he gives.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who is interested in how Pujols lives his life.

[this book was reviewed as a part of the BookSneeze Blogger Review Program]