Summary

The MyWord Editor and nodeStorage system are a perfect example of what I call a personal cloud application architecture.

unhosted_web_architecture

I've written before about Dave Winer's nodeStorage project and his MyWord blogging tool. Yesterday Dave released the MyWord editor for creating blog posts.

I can see you yawning. You're thinking "Another blogging tool? Spare me! What's all the excitement?!?"

The excitement over a few simple ideas:

  • First, MyWord is a silo-buster. Dave's not launching a company or trying to suck you onto his platform so he can sell ads. Rather, he's happy to have you take his software and run it yourself. (Yes, there are other blogging platforms you can self-host, the monster-of-them-all Wordpress included. Read on.)
  • Second, the architecture of MyWord is based on Dave's open-source nodeStorage system. Dave's philosophy for nodeStorage is simple and matches my own ideas about user's owning and controlling their own data, instead of having that data stored in some company's database to serve its ambitions. I've called this the Personal Cloud Application Architecture (PCAA).

A PCAA separates the application data from the application. This has significant implications for how Web applications are built and used.

I set up an instance of nodeStorage for myself at nodestorage.byu.edu. Now when I use the MyWord editor (regardless of where it's hosted) I can configure it to use my storage node and the data is stored under my control. This is significant because I'm using Dave's application and my storage. I'm not hosting the application (although I can do that, if I like, since it's open source). I'm simply hosting data. Here's my first post using the MyWord editor with my nodeStorage.

Making this work, obviously, requires that the storage system respond in certain ways so that the application knows what to expect. The nodeStorage system provides that. But not just for MyWord, for any application that needs identity (provided through Twitter) and storage (provided by Amazon S3). Dave's provided several of these applications and I'm sure more are in the works.

If more people have access to nodeStorage-based systems, application developers could ignore the features it provides and focus on the app. I recognize that's a big "if", but I think it's a goal worth working toward.