Ben Langhinrichs

December, 2003
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Wed 10 Dec 2003, 04:39 PM
A developer took me to task for incorrectly using a buzzword, or perhaps for using a buzzword at all, I'm not really sure from his comments.  The issue was my post, Grid Computing - an interesting challenge, which used the buzzword "grid computing" in a somewhat stretched manner, partly because while I may have heard the term a few times, I didn't really know the exact definition.

To find out, I did a search on Google to find out What is "grid computing"?, and came up with the following definition(among 894,000 hits, so perhaps it is a little overused):

grid computing - An ambitious and exciting global effort to develop an environment in which individual users can access computers, databases and experimental facilities simply and transparently, without having to consider where those facilities are located. [RealityGrid, Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, UK 2001]

So my use of the term is a stretch, but the concept I want to get across is similar.  To avoid the standard buzzword, I'll call it "Grid updating" and give my own definition:

grid updating - An effort to develop an application in which individual users can access and update many documents simply and transparently, without having to consider where those documents are located. [GeniiBlog, US 2003]

Now, I am not alone in imagining this sort of thing, since the Google search for What is "grid updating"? came up with 112 hits, although none seem very relevant (my absolute favorite, then search the page for "grid updating").  IBM has added a very elementary, although cool, utility for this with its in-view editing, but that still forces a fairly strict consideration of "where those documents are located", which I want to avoid.

In the sample I am building, and will release shortly (it is available for intrepid souls who want to see it early by contacting me), I am taking this one step further.  The interface allows a conglomeration of documents, which might come from a single database or from different databases, but which do not require much consideration of "where those documents are located".  The single page shows all the relevant data, and it can be updated in place.  In this sample, I use doclinks both to provide access back to the original documents and to identify the document for the updating process.

Not sure where I am going with all this.  I'll probably add to this more later, but it is an interesting effort, even if not an "ambitious and exciting global effort".

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