Teqlo review

Finally got around to looking at Teqlo, which I’ve meaning to do since I first signed up to their beta program.

I’m looking at this to determine a few different things: how they are enabling application building under the surface, what their target audience is and how much they let developers get under the skin.

The big question is how are they doing all this – according to a recent Teqlo blog post, it’s all XML schemas defining a widget’s data structure, and there is a reference to XSLT, which I guess they use to combine the widgets.

The process of building applications involves pulling pre-defined widgets on to a canvas and then defining interactions between the widgets, based on the data “microformats” that each widget can support (these are not equivalent to the microformats.org microformats, although Teqlo hope theirs can be a “superset” of the latter… complicated?). For instance, I can set my LinkedIn search widget to add a “person” microformat to my Teqlo Call list widget, which will only receive “person” microformats.

So far, so good. The builder layout could be improved, as the canvas quite often gets cluttered. The interface is built in OpenLaszlo, so there is plenty of scope to easily make the whole process run more smoothly. The application I built didn’t work though and I got an ugly javascript error when I tried to run it. Notwithstanding this bug, the process was pretty painless.

Teqlo are clearly aiming their product at non-technical users, at least to begin with. As I mentioned, they are planning to allow developers to program their own widgets in the future. I think they would be well advised to let developers get in there asap. This is a criticism I have about Yahoo! Pipes as well. It’s all well and good to allow people to build applications easily, but you want the development community to embrace and use the framework that underlies the building blocks, otherwise the service will go down the road of Ning very rapidly (while people used the pre-built apps, building new apps using their framework never really caught on).

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One Comment

  1. Posted April 18, 2007 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the review. You are right about aiming at non-technical users but we are also ratcheting up the Builder capabilities to accommodate more technical users. Look for a big release on that in 2-3 weeks.

    Regarding that error message, this is one of the side effects of being resource constrained at the moment, we are not trapping and translating any error messages, and to be quite honest, it feels like we regressed a little in the most recent release. I get errors as well and will freely admit, they are ugly.