Push vs. Pull

By C.J. Mathias, Farpoint Group |  Mobile & Wireless

Back in the late '90s, right after the initial hype around the Internet had begun to settle, along came the Next Big Thing: Push. I always scratched my head a little when the discussion turned to Push; I must confess that I had a really hard time understanding what the big deal was here. OK, I get this much: information is sent to me without my having to explicitly ask for it. But was that a paradigm shift worthy of all of the hype that swirled back then? Well, no, but I will acknowledge that Push has evolved into today's RSS feeds, and many people do in fact find these useful. And Push is also used to keep applications and servers, among other computational entities, up to date, so I'm not saying Push isn't valuable. It just seemed like the obvious thing to do, and certainly not cause for inflated marketing claims and the inflated stock prices that went along with them.

More to the point, Push also today forms the basis of most mobile e-mail strategies. If you're a mobile e-mail user, you likely have a BlackBerry, and every few minutes e-mail magically arrives on your device. I used to work this way myself, but I have returned that That Which Existed Before Push - Pull. In other words, I no longer have e-mail automatically forwarded to me, and I'm not interrupted every few seconds by a beep or a buzz. I decide when to check e-mail, and then I do this through a paradigm shift truly worthy of your attention: Web services.

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