I’ve just posted a comment on a really good article by Kate Ho of Startup Cafe about her predictions on the rise of multi-user, multi-device table applications. Obviously my comments are focused really on the technology behind such a rise. Here’s my comment in full, slightly edited to be a bit more readable as a blog post.

Kate – another very insightful post. And another set of predictions that I completely agree with you about and really excite me because I’m working on technology that makes this possible and more easily accessible. For multi-user games and collaborative applications the information about a player move, new document update or chat notification generally needs to be instantly sent to all other users. Even where real-time is not absolutely essential to the application a push notification is still more beneficial (UX and resource usage) than notification via polling.

During the last year we started to see, or at least notice, a lot more real-time collaboration applications and games which used the Internet as the network for the messages. In this post I wrote for Programmable Web on real-time client push services the first screenshot is of a web-based scrabble-like game.

Some other well know examples are Google Docs documents, drawing and spreadsheets real-time collaboration, Google Wave, PBWorks and real-time chat services such as Nurph (although they currently use polling). I also think that services such as Balsamiq, a UI mocking app, plan to introduce real-time collaboration functionality.

The user experience side of things is also very interesting. When real-time data delivery becomes a possibility the application developer really needs to consider how this impacts the UX. Just because you can stream 1000’s of tweets a minute into an application it doesn’t mean you should. search.twitter.com is a good example of this; they’ve chose to just show a notification that new tweets are available rather than actually push them into view. These two examples also show notifications being pushed into view:

I’d love to know what people think about this and hear any idea about how we can solve this real-time notification UX problem.

During 2011 I absolutely believe that we will start to see a lot more real-time and cross platform collaborative applications and games where one user may be on a smartphone, another on a PC running in a web browser and another on a native iPad app. These applications will be powered by real-time technologies either hosted by the game or application developers or using one of the real-time push notification and messaging services that started up last year.

My hope is that people will choose to use a service for that infrastructure and that Kwwika is well placed to fill that role by having a foundation of technology developed over 10 years and APIs for the majority of technologies (JavaScript [Web], Objective-C [iPhone/iPad], C, Java, .NET, Flash, Silverlight).

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BladeRunnerJS - Divide & Conquer your Web Apps
BladeRunnerJS: Divide & Conquer your Web Apps

BladeRunnerJS is a development toolkit and lightweight framework for building web applications consisting of one or more components called Blades. It comes complete with some seriously useful tools which make it easy to develop, test and deploy your app.

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