The future of networking?

by Jason Deraleau


Rendezvous is a great technology. It intelligently extends portions of existing protocols and standards to create something that is not only easy to implement, but is pretty simple in its construction. Simple is a good thing when we're talking about network things. Complexity in a network is an administrator's worst nightmare. Services like DHCP and DNS are there to make the administrator's job easier. Unfortunately services like DHCP and DNS are beyond the grasp of most users. Rendezvous steps in and makes it so the average person can get a functional network in place quickly and easily.


Rendezvous isn't the only protocol around working to make networking easier; UPnP is another system designed for easy home networking. Right now it's strongly backed by Microsoft and Intel. However it is a heavier system and doesn't build as much upon existing protocols as Rendezvous does. Rendezvous also has the advantage that you can get real products, right now that are working examples of the technology.


With this in mind it's great to see Apple make another product that makes use of Rendezvous. I'm of course talking about the Safari browser Apple just recently released as a Public Beta. Though you might not have heard much about it during the Keynote at MacWorld San Francisco, this browser is packing Rendezvous. Now Safari isn't the only browser that has a working implementation of Rendezvous. The Chimera browser has Rendezvous support as well (and has had it longer even).


Until more recently, the Rendezvous features in the browser have been stagnant, but now Eric Seidel has written an Apache module named mod_rendezvous which enables your Mac's web service to appear in that Rendezvous menu. It's pretty easy to install and works very well. Also, if you're using Apple's FTP sharing, it will appear in Chimera's Rendezvous list. Not only that, but expect products like routers and printers to come with built-in, Rendezvous advertising web servers. Setting up your next home NAT router could be as easy as plugging in a cable and opening the configuration site from your browser's Rendezvous menu.


Keep an eye on this one folks. I predict Rendezvous making it real big in our industry, especially in the home and small office markets.



What do you think will use Rendezvous next?


7 Comments

anonymous2
2003-01-17 15:31:37
Cross platform!-)
And it's cross platform too! And open source! No excuses not to use it :-)


Apple provides one implementation:


http://developer.apple.com/darwin/projects/rendezvous/


Arthur van Hoff provides a Java version:


ftp://ftp.strangeberry.com/pub/


And Paul Scott Murphy a python version:


http://radio.weblogs.com/0105002/stories/2003/01/06/multicastDnsServiceDiscoverForPython.html


To see it all coming together, check ZOE:


http://guests.evectors.it/zoe/


It's a Java app advertising its services through Rendezvous to integrate with Apple's system services dynamically, among other things. Pretty nifty.



anonymous2
2003-01-17 16:21:42
Transmit 2.2
Note that Panic Software's FTP client, Transmit (http://www.panic.com/transmit/) has support for Rendezvous too.
anonymous2
2003-01-19 18:12:39
Rendezvous is new to me
I wish to buy new "How to use with Rendezvous" networking technology book? I am studying my basic networking myself in my home. I think Rendezvous is great. I don't know what do with Chimera and Safari with rendezvous. Question is where can I find source?
jldera
2003-01-19 19:50:23
Rendezvous is new to me
You can find information about Rendezvous on the ZeroConf webpage (http://www.zeroconf.org). Basically it's configureless IP networking based on slight modifications to existing protocols (DHCP, APIPA, DNS).
anonymous2
2003-01-27 10:26:45
Didn't we have these capabilities w/ Appletalk?!
Now, I know ATalk had some limitations, esp. in regards to scalability, but it still seems like we're getting excited about getting our old functionality back. Next version of Rendezvous we'll have support for zones, I mean, "Virtual Subnets". ;)
jldera
2003-01-27 10:29:01
Didn't we have these capabilities w/ Appletalk?!
Similar, but it wasn't really open, so you didn't have Joe developer writing new AT services to advertise. We've gone from just file and printer sharing to service advertisement. There's really no limit to what kind of other services might start using Rendezvous.
frank
2006-04-09 17:30:33
networking rulez yeah