May 162005

I spent a certain proportion of Friday morning watching the webcast of the Scott and Steve show – the update of the collaboration work that Microsoft and Sun started a year ago. Lots of other people have blogged about what was shown and the implications (try Tim, Eve, Pat, Robin, Greg and Jonathan for some differing Sun views; CNET, The Register, and Slashdot for some outside-Sun views).

I had a special interest in watching the demo (starts at 17:19) as I did the CSS for the Sun part. What happened was, I’m new to all this identity management stuff, and asked whether I could help in preparing the demo for the eGov forum at the Liberty Alliance meeting in Dublin in April, in part to help me try to get the concepts straight. Pat said the interface to the demo could do with some work; I took a CSS that I’d done for my blog (really must move it into WP 1.5 format some time to reuse it!), spiffed it up a bit, and voila! a CSS custom-built for identity management demos. So it made sense for me to continue spiffing up the demos for this press event. Unfortunately you only see about 2 seconds of the actual demo on the webcast and it’s pretty blurry (the webcast shows more of the demo presenters than the demo they were presenting), but Pat assures me it looked great on the big screens in real life.

I took what I’d done for the eGov forum, made some changes to make sure it would work on IE 6 on Windows XP as well as the JDS browser on Solaris (which, being basically Mozilla, doesn’t have the CSS “inconsistencies” that IE 6 has) and then pinched the colours from the new Sun branding. Pat suggested using some of the Sun images to add some pizazz to the site, while Tim made the fake company logos.

Joint demo development takes a lot of coordination. We discussed small things like which logos we should show (we settled on Sun + Solaris / Microsoft + Windows) as well as big things like the precise script that would be used, which defined how many links should be active, and how many different web pages each company needed to prepare, which determined how much coding needed to be done. And a bunch of other stuff, of course. We had daily phone calls within the Sun demo team, and daily phone calls with the Microsoft demo team, just to nail down all those little details.

In the end, we got there, the demo looked good and worked, and, I hope, made sense to people. Spiffy CSS or fancy images aren’t much use if people don’t get what’s being demonstrated. The write-ups I’ve seen indicate that they did.

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