The Two-Way Web: An Interoperable Foundation for P2P
Rohit Khare, Director, CommerceNet Labs
Putative 'P2P' working groups overlook what already works. If what the P2P world needs is a platform for rapidly prototyping real-time person-to-person graphical applications, wireless notifications, or real-time content syndication, off-the-shelf Web tools can provide this today. Web peering is an immediately useful response to idiosyncratic, binary file-sharing protocols.
In the press for "new" P2P standards, there is a tendency to overlook what already works. NNTP provides group conferencing, SMTP enables instant messaging, and so on. When facing a new alphabet soup of "P2P" protocols, from Gnutella's to Napster's to BXXP to SOAP and beyond, it's worth stepping back to ask if the tools we need for real-time, person-to-person applications are already here. We believe Web peering is one answer: by creatively reusing existing HTTP standards with client/server pairs at each node, developers enjoy real-time notification, a standard namespace, and most importantly, a zero-install, scriptable development platform: the 4.x browser.