Chapter 3. Designing Network Applications

The Palm platform is a resource-starved device running an underpowered processor. Its limitations have not changed much over the years. The challenge for Palm application developers is to make efficient use of these scarce resources and weak processor to provide an intuitive and pleasant user experience. The Zen of Palm addresses this challenge by preaching the virtues of simplicity.

Adding network connectivity to a Palm application deepens this challenge. Networks, especially wireless ones, often suffer from narrow bandwidth and high latency. Accessing network resources tends to be slow, unreliable, and complex, relative to local resources. Continuing in the pseudo-Buddhist paradigm, the Tao of Networks is a set of considerations for network application development that allow applications to make efficient use of inefficient networks.

This chapter is about designing successful Palm network applications. We explore the Zen of Palm and the Tao of Networks, then create a high level design for our two example applications, FtpView and Daytime Peer.

The Zen of Palm

The original Palm engineers envisioned a Personal Information Management (PIM) device small and lightweight enough to fit comfortably in a shirt pocket and efficient enough to run on conventional batteries. They succeeded. The Pilot 1000 could run for weeks on two AA batteries and was about the size and weight of a deck of cards.

It was the perfect personal information management ...

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