This is really cool Angus. From the beginning we have known that
mobile and alerts is naturally important to WM -- It's suggested in the original
wireframes. The interface we've been building has been designed with mobile in mind -
though we had not considered the connection issue you point out. Anyhow, Jarda has some
awesome wires to share soon that show how a responsive front end will give us an optimized
experience mobile phones, at least while on the same network.
This sounds awesome.
I can envision many mobile applications that
consume various services offered by Aeolus. Having something like
"mobile-converge-ui" would be really fantastic (proving we choose to go
down the html5, css3, js route, which I would recommend).
I wonder how much work converting our current converge-ui to target
mobile devices would be.
Personally I love the idea you propose and the idea creating a native app obviously is
really interesting to me from a design perspective. I don't think it eliminates the
need for a mobile-ready web UI, and fortunately, it won't be a huge leap to make what
we have now responsive.
What about using SMS? I have no idea what this entails server side, but it would be a
natural way to get alerts, or for example, to text STOP to your application. Good ol'
email works too. I actually think email would be useful in other situations, like after
your app is up, you get an email confirming it is running and with connection and login
details, etc. You might also want a reminder email if your app has been running for a
month with no activity.
That all said, I think the ability to receive alerts over any internet connection is more
important than being able to poll for status or perform operations. Of course, I want
On Jan 31, 2013, at 2:23 PM, Angus Thomas <athomas(a)redhat.com> wrote:
> This is a problem which I've been thinking about in the context of Winged Monkey,
but it is more generally applicable.
> We want Winged Monkey to be available on people’s phones, tablets etc so that they
can see the state of running instances, receive notifications whenever there’s an outage
> So long as the users are standing fairly near the server which is running Winged
Monkey, and can get wifi connectivity to the same network that the server is on, then it’s
all relatively simple.
> However, as soon as users step outside the building, it all gets a bit more complex.
In order for the users’ phone to be able to connect over the internet to the Winged Monkey
server, then either the phone is going to need to have a VPN connection, which is a
significant overhead, or the Winged Monkey server instance is going to have to be directly
accessible over the internet. A lot of the organisations which are potential users of
Winged Monkey wouldn’t be prepared to do that.
> We could use a social network as a messaging conduit between the Winged Monkey server
and a client application on users’ phones.
> For the rest of this mail, I’ll expand in this in the context of Twitter. I don’t
*think* this use would be a violation the Twitter’s terms of service. (
). There are several public social networks which could serve the
> So, here’s how this could work:
> * The Winged Monkey server would register a Twitter account, with protected tweets.
> * A user would install and run the Winged Monkey phone app. The first run would also
create a protected Twitter account, and when the user authenticates, the two Twitter
accounts start following each other.
> * Thereafter Winged Monkey and the phone app use tweets to communicate over the
internet, sending instructions, status updates etc. as strings up up to 140 characters. So
long as both the server and the client app poll frequently for new tweets, the
responsiveness should be acceptable to users.
> Some of the benefits are:
> * The communications are authenticated, with access permission which can be very
quickly revoked by unfollowing an account which is no longer supported.
> * The communications are also (moderately) secure, in the sense that tweets from and
between protected accounts aren’t generally readable.
> * The timelines of the accounts constitute an audit history of events etc.. It would
be trivial to scrape that audit history from Twitter if required.
> * The principle benefit, though, is that the requirement for the Winged Monkey server
to be directly accessible over the internet is removed. So long as the Winged Monkey
server can make a client connection to Twitter.com
, stuff just works.
> I’m not pretending that this is a flawless proposition, but I think there’s enough of
an idea here to want feedback. I’d love to hear a better way to solve the problem.