The Smart Desktop

Right, if you checked out my previous post you know that I have been working on a cloud desktop for a while. It’s basiclly an example that will ship with the next release of Smart Mobile Studio, but it’s also a labour of love since I’m a huge Amiga fan.

My good friend Gunnar Kristjansson, the author behind Amibian, the Linux distro that more or less turns your Raspberry PI3b into a real live Amiga, booting straight into UAE4All on ARM based devices – has been helping out with testing and general opinions as well. We have decided to fork the base and call that “Amibian.js” since it is capable of running real-life 68k Amiga software right in the browser (!)

screenshot

Anyways if you find this interesting head over to github and pull the source from my smart repository. You will need the NG version of the RTL to compile, but that should be in the Alpha channel next week (unless something needs more love before its released).

Why should this matter?

The cloud desktop is not trying to be something it’s not. It’s meant as a conceptual example, meaning that it demonstrates what can be achieved (and expanded upon) with Smart Mobile Studio.

Having said that, it’s not just a pretty face! Making sexy css graphics is easy these days, but our RTL adds a bit of depth to the whole paradigm.

First of all, I implemented a virtual filesystem on top of Localstorage. This means that files can be read/written to the browser cache — and it will all be stored inside a single serialized item. This would be what people call “ram disk”. Essentially the capacity to store files in ram.

screenshot2

The same filesystem, which is naturally based on a common ancestor class, talks to the node.js backend server. Which means that once the server is finished – the desktop will have access to a region of the actual harddisk. This is where the fun starts!

What about applications

The desktop shows 3 windows when you start it. The first is a fully working text-editor. The second is a Deluxe Paint clone (pixel based editor) and last but not least – a music tracker (player) application.

Now all of these are pure JavaScript. Some of them are hosted elsewhere. So this is just an example of how easy it is to bind together local and external services.

Lets pixel like its 1999!

Lets pixel like its 1999!

I will naturally, when time allows, isolate these locally as a part of the repository – so that the applications can start as normal. They need to be adapted, because right now they run inside their own IFrame – which cause problems with window focus (as you will notice).

What can I use it for?

It should be a fairly good starting point if you want to create your own windowing cloud applications. I have given you the basics, like windowing classes, preferences and such things. The code is easy to read and play with – so it should be a good place to begin.

Personally I use this in my NAS developments. I discovered that my Asustor NAS (which has a similar concept) is a bit shit – so I decided I could write a better one myself.

Thankfully Gunnar Kristjannson, the guy behind Amibian, is helping me out with the Linux distro – and it boots directly into this system (if you have a screen attached). You can also connect to the NAS via ordinary http. And from that interface I can now control what the NAS does. And its all thanks to node.js and SMS.

The cool part? Replace the NAS with your favorite cloud supplier and you get the idea 😉

 

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