Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Psych Desktop soon to become more Lucid

Category: Dojo

We heard from Will of the Psych Desktop project as he ran across our coverage of other Web desktop apps. He shared with us his project that is part of the Dojo Foundation which you can check out here.

He had some good thoughts, so I thought I would pass them along below:

Psych Desktop is an open source web desktop licensed under the AFL. We’re a part of the Dojo Foundation, and have been around for around two years I believe. We’re going to rename the project as Lucid when we finish our new site.

Anyways, there are two main ideas behind Lucid. The first is that we aren’t just building a clone of a desktop environment, but rather a desktop that was built for the web. For example, in 1.1 we plan on providing an alternate UI made for mobile devices such as an iPhone. Another example of what we want to accomplish would be a photo manager that would easily allow you to publish photos to a public photo gallery. We also want to do the typical things, like a word processor and email, but that’s not the main idea behind the desktop.

The second idea behind it is that we should provide a nice, clean set of APIs for developers to use in their apps. For example, we’ve got a Registry that is based off of a store, so you can plug it directly into a dojox.grid.DataGrid, and you instantly have an editable grid that writes back to the store. Another neat API is the crosstalk API, which allows intercommunication between users. The Messenger app is using this. There’s also a sound API that can be used to playback audio. The apps are written in javascript, and don’t require any server-side code at all. And of course, there’s also a filesystem.

Right now we’re in beta, but we’re coming close to our 1.0 release. There’s still a bit of work to be done, but it’s stable enough for developers to start playing with it. 1.1 is going to be a lot more innovative, but I think 1.0 will be good starting grounds for our expedition.

It is cool to see the Will is passionate about the area and is “in it for the long term.”

Posted by Dion Almaer at 6:43 am

3.5 rating from 32 votes


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Wish I could look at the demo, but php decides otherwise apparently.

Comment by Joeri — December 10, 2008

Fail. is down – DB errors.

Comment by broofa — December 10, 2008

I know this is a bit late, but our server is back up. It couldn’t handle the surge in traffic, I apologize.

Anyways, I’d like to add that we’re looking for contributors, so if you’re interested, feel free to ask.

Comment by psychcf — December 10, 2008

This is actually a pretty nice environment. Snappy and functional. I’m still not convinced that putting a desktop inside a browser window is a good idea from a usability point of view (unless it’s easy to “undock” applications into truly separate browser windows). But if you think the paradigm is a good one, this seems like a good implementation of it.

Comment by Joeri — December 11, 2008

It’s not bad! I’ve looked at a lot of AJAX OS’s, and this one is pretty good.
The #1 thing though that the web OS’s I’ve looked at have ALL failed to do (including Psych/Lucid) is having a common ‘Application Directory’.

You have a bunch of apps installed by default, but I think you really need to have one of the apps installed by default everywhere, is a ‘Install More Apps’ app.

I should be able to download the OS on my machine, develop a new application for it, and be able to submit it to an application directory.
This application should then be available for instant install on anyone else’s Lucid install through a ‘App Directory’ app.

In my honest opinion, this is the ONLY way any Web OS will ever ‘take’ off.

BTW, the app directory should have social features such as user reviews and a rating system. To weed out the good from the bad.

Comment by Sembiance — December 11, 2008

@Sembiance: isn’t this called iGoogle? ;)

Comment by Joeri — December 11, 2008

@Sembiance: We’re actually going to have an application/theme directory on our new site. Later, we’ll integrate it with the desktop itself, as you described.

Comment by psychcf — December 11, 2008

@Sembiance (and others):
Isn’t it a better idea to develop the application “in-place”? That is, inside the “webOS” and test it “in-place”, without download+install+develop+test+uppload?
In other words: develop+test and then publish.

Download+installation will probably require a webserver installed on your machine.

Comment by hbi — December 11, 2008

Lucid is taken ;)
We already develop a commercial Java ERP/CRM/BPM product called IdegaWeb Lucid.

Comment by Eiki — December 14, 2008

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