Build Real-Time Web Apps With Hemlock
They say necessity is the mother of invention, which explains a bit about how the new web development framework project Hemlock got its start. Four guys were sitting around trying to figure out how to create a real-time online fantasy football (or soccer, to us uncivilized Americans) game and realized currently technology just wasn't going to cut it. They got to work building their own web development framework and now the team plans to open source Hemlock so people can create their own dream games.
Hemlock combines the scalability of XMPP and the flexibility of Flash to make real-time web-based actions more, well, real-time. "To date, almost all web sites consist of an HTML front-end on an SQL database. Any 'real-time' actions are simulated through polling." reads the project's web site. "There are a number of problems when this is used in 'real time' situations. The main two are that many-to-many inteactions are expensive and that the web page has to keep polling. Hemlock deals with this differently. A client registers for message and is only contacted when a relevant one arrives."
Hemlock is obviously perfect for games, but its developers hope it will also be used to create collaboration and education tools, and other web apps that rely on instantaneous responses to input. The framework isn't available quite yet, but will be "as soon as it is in state where you would curse [the developers] only occasionally." If you're intrigued, sign up at the web site to be notified as soon as it launches.