This blog seems to be gushing about PearlTrees, but that's just because it's become central to what I'm doing. So I thought it was time to write a review.
So first, the good. With the PearlTrees plugin, gathering information into a meaningful structure becomes a breeze. Due to the visualization, it's an easy replacement for traditional bookmarks that many other offhand possibilities. Like my usage here, using it to gather resources for review and rolling out another blog that actually applies my principles but is more about a topic other than the nuts and bolts of my idealized future web.
It is serving as the sitemap cum website for this blog. This goes back to not having a traditional website, but using pearltrees to structure a blog so that the pages become non-linear. So the individual entries (at least some of them) become like webpages since the PearlTree structure utilizes them this way.
So that's a whole lot of good for minimalistic a web presence in a single interface. At the same time, it sets the stage for touch computing. After all, the web is something people touch now... to have a modern site, you must be able to navigate by touch.
Now the bad. PearlTrees utilizes Flash for its presentation. Right off the bat that throws out iPhones and iPads, and Android devices earlier than 2.2. But as far as a browser experience on a desktop, it's great. Likewise this Flash problem will be going away in 1 of 2 directions. 1) The Google Chrome browser integrates flash into the browser, so if it's ported to iOS for example... it brings Flash with it as part of the web experience. 2) PearlTrees is working on rewriting their interface in HTML5. This nips the problem in the bud and closes the Android./iOS divide.
Another good/bad - when you place a URL into a "pearl," PearlTrees serves as a proxy between you and that site. This offers a level of anonymity and protection. At the same time, all of pages that load as a "pearl" inherit whatever privaledges PearlTree has. So if you allow flash to SEE PearlTrees then all of the content opened as a pearl runs its flash content (if it has it). This could clearly be exploited in a not good fashion. (This btw, is why you need some kind of malware protection integrated into your browser and an antivirus. These things are essential to modern browsing.) But the good news, most people live this vulnerability every day in complete ignorance. So using PearlTrees is no more harmful than the other Flash laden sites you visit... I notice personally because I browse with a flash blocker. It doesn't load unless I say load.
On the whole though, the good far outweighs the bad. And if they develop an HTML5 client for their service - it solves the inherited permission problem mentioned before. Lord help me, HTML5 is the place to be. Which is precisely why I added it to my statement of principles.
Anyway - that's my take on PearlTrees. And a word on browsers... Google Chrome could run my website "out of the box" without requiring a single extension or plug-in. All of the other Browsers, you will need to have Flash installed to access PearlTrees. Also, since I'm still riding the fence on the Firefox/Chrome divide, this is another mark in Chrome's favor. In fact, since I've used PearlTrees on both browsers, I can say - Chrome runs PearlTrees better than Firefox. Period. It's smoother, more responsive,and its faster both in load time and performance.
And that's wrap!
UPDATE 19-FEB-2011: PearlTrees has corrected the Flash in Flash problem. The code injection threat is gone.