Friday, August 15, 2008


"Dude, you're famous" -- Duane Nickull

I don't get many email messages with subject lines like "Dude, you're famous" and when I do they are almost always from Duane Nickull. He's a "Senior Technology Evangelist" at Adobe, and has been leading the Service Oriented Architecture Reference Model Technical Committee at OASIS (an international standards-making organization where I'm on the Board of Directors). Duane and I met about 10 years ago in the technology standards arena when we were both part of the ebXML effort to develop and harmonize XML and EDI standards for electronic business -- which laid the foundations for web services.

But this description of Duane as a technologist and standards-maker doesn't do him justice and certainly doesn't capture the fact that he's also a brilliant musician, an extreme sports professional, and fun to hang around with. Duane has a fairly traditional blog called "Technoracle," but he also has a radically untraditional show on "Adobe TV" that mixes technology interviews, code writing demos, and indy music.

The reason I am now famous – at least according to Duane – is because he interviewed me for his most recent
"Duane's World" episode on Adobe TV
. This episode was recorded at the recent annual "Foo Camp" get-together at the O'Reilly home offices in Sebastopol, California.

In the interview I discuss the motivation and goals for a new course I'm about to start teaching at UC Berkeley called "Information Systems and Service Design" . This is a course that embodies the idea I've talked about here on "bridging the front stage and back stage". When we design and build "information-driven interactions" we should understand how back stage information contributes to the experience, and we shouldn't focus narrowly on the user interface. Duane came up with a perfect example of the problems this front stage bias can produce: he said that he was annoyed recently when he filled out Web forms to submit his Canadian income tax, only to have them corrected by the tax authorities! A "bridging" design method would have pre-populated the form with the known information, leaving the user to confirm rather than provide it.

I'll write something more detailed about that new course soon, and I'll try to make it as entertaining as the interview.

Btw, the episode begins with Duane interviewing Dries Buytaert, the founder of Drupal, followed by a demo on Adobe's Flex Builder tool. And one of the bands whose music appears in my interview is 22ndCentury . I use Drupal and have tried Flex Builder, and I think I'll listen to more of 22ndCentury.

-Bob Glushko

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