The Platform is the Core

livemeshdesktop

Live Mesh was launched yesterday at Web2Expo in San Francisco.

Our design goals for Live Mesh are to have…

  • …your devices work together
  • …your data and applications available from anywhere
  • …the people you need to connect with just a few clicks away for sharing and collaborating
  • … the information you need to stay up-to-date and always be available

I’m really excited about Live Mesh as a platform. It really is one of the first services above the level of a single device. The integration of experiences across devices is really interesting and important. I started to realize the power of creating a device mesh when I switched from my Blackberry to a Windows Mobile device and Microsoft Exchange. I am able to access my email service using my Palm 750, my Mac Book Pro running Entourage, my new Dell m1330 or my old Thinkpad x60 running Outlook, or when I’m connected over the web running Outlook Web Access. The devices are really irrelevant to me, what is most important is my data. My contacts. My calendar. My email.

Live Mesh is an early platform that allows the abstraction of data and data synchronization with applications, the web, and the cloud. It is a platform for developers to begin building the next generation of applications for the web, devices, rich clients, gaming platforms, media devices, etc.

  • Services Are the Core of the Platform – the Live Mesh platform exposes a number of core services including some Live Services that can all be accessed using the Live Mesh API; these include Storage (online and offline), Membership, Sync, Peer-to-Peer Communication and Newsfeed.
  • Same API on Clients and in the Cloud – the programming model is the same for the cloud and all connected devices, which means a Live Mesh application works exactly the same regardless of whether it’s running in the cloud, in a browser, on a desktop, or on a mobile device.
  • Open, Extendable Data Model – a basic data model is provided for the most common tasks needed for a Live Mesh application; developers can also customize and extend the data model in any fashion that is needed for a specific application.
  • Flexible Application Model – developers can choose what application developer model best fits their needs. .

Mike Zintel, from the Live Mesh team, describes the locus of control is with end users. People are given a platform where they have the control over the devices, the communication, the storage and the membership to the network.

The mesh is the foundation for a model where customers will ultimately license applications to their mesh, as opposed to an instantiation of Windows, Mac or a mobile account or a web site.  Such applications will be seamlessly installed and run from their mesh and application settings persisted across their mesh. The device ring inside of the Live Desktop is a simple visualization of the mesh, and provides a view of all devices and current device availability. The Live Mesh platform provides the ability for applications to connect to any other device, regardless of network topology (network transparency), within the mesh. This infrastructure enables the Live Mesh Remote Desktop experience today.

It is a great way to start to build above the level of a single device. Being able to abstract devices, membership lists, connections between devices, and then an underlying pub/sub infrastructure for awareness and sync is a very empowering framework. I can’t wait to start enabling more of my personal data between my devices (namely music, videos and photos shared between my laptops and music players, and if I’m lucky my TiVO because I can already share from my Mac to my XBox360 via Rivet or Connect360). Ewan Spence covers the hackable power of the underlying “RSS and XML derived data exchange”. This looks like a really good first direction for a Software+Services platform that enables developers beyond the context of a single device.

As Live Mesh is a limited Technology Preview, but it is a great start to building cloud connected applications.

For more information, go to LiveMesh.com. For more Live Mesh coverage: