Saturday, May 10, 2008

Twitter - Capabilites mashup

The idea of a distributed replacement for Twitter is floating around... and I've been writing about capabilities recently... what would we get if you merged the ideas?

#1. - Get rid of user accounts on twitter... just hand out the capability to post, which would be different each time it's issued, and individually revoke able. I'd hand them out in an Email, to limit the user base a bit and cut down on spam. You could always store the email address somewhere in a table along with the capability to know who it is if necessary.

#2. - Allow each user to then hand out tokens that would allow a direct message, which they could proxy and/or revoke themselves. This would make it possible for an end user to block someone from making direct messages, without the need for it to happen in the central code. The proxy that does this could be a separate service, and doesn't play a part in the security of the central capability provider code.

#3. - Allow each user to hand out tokens that would allow following them, which like above, they could proxy and revoke themselves. This turns the distributed twitter into an effectively private email system without too much work.

#4. - There's really not much difference between a tweet and a blog post, other than length. There's not much different between a private posting and and email... you could cover all of them this way.

Ok... it's 10:30 and I'm sleep deprived, so this might not be as coherent as it seems at the time... though I hope it is.

Capabilities offer a huge amount of flexibility when doing system design. They make it possible to break apart the logic of a complex application without having to worry about the combinatorial explosion that results from the conventional idea of having every piece of code enforcing a ton of rules.

What do you all think?


1 comment:

Dean Landolt said...

As to #4: there's certainly not. Nor is there much difference between a blog and a blog comment, and a tweet, and an email. They all inherit from the base class "Message" -- they have unique properties, but they share a whole lot of properties in common...

This is EXACTLY what I'm hoping to do w/ SocialFS -- provide a base persistence application with hooks so that someone could easy_install their own twitter clone, sans the scaling issues (it only has to scale as big as your network).