David Berlind digs deeper into Dan Bricklin’s new product:
…the underlying fundamentals to WikiCalc’s three-tier architecture [are] designed to accommodate either thin or thick client computing. The first tier the one that the end user touches is the browser-based authoring and publishing tool. The second tier is the Web site that drives the tool. Much the same way that Userland founder Dave Winer designed the authoring component of Userland’s personal blogging solution (Radio) to be browser-based and driven by a Web server that runs locally on the PC, WikiCalc does exactly the same thing. Then, both do the same thing with the content that they can respectively author they store the native files in local storage (for example, on the hard drive) and then they publish the resulting Web pages to the third tier, which could be a Web server on the Internet (like I did with my Comcast-based Web space) or to one on a corporate Intranet. Like other Web authoring tools that publish directly to Web servers, WikiCalc needs to be configured (once) with the appropriate FTP login information to transfer any newly authored or edited Web pages to the target Web server.
So, much the same way Radio has a browser-based authoring tool but is really a thick-client solution because of the way the browser-based authoring tools are driven by a local Web server that requires local processing power and storage, WikiCalc in its default configuration is the same thing. But that architecture with its usage of local resources is also what facilitates working offline with your documents or content when you’re not connected to the Internet (a key advantage of thick client computing). But what makes WikiCalc unique is that Bricklin developed the entire second tier the local Web server the drives the browser-based authoring environment in Perl. In his alpha release, Bricklin relies on ActiveState’s Windows-based Perl runtime for interpretation of his source code. But, because his source is based on the Perl standard and because such runtimes exist for just about every operating system imaginable, the WikiCalc source code is 100 percent portable to other operating systems.