[cap-talk] Ben Laurie's question: "How can one apply the powerbox user interface pattern to something like sockets?"

James A. Donald jamesd at echeque.com
Sun Sep 7 20:34:52 CDT 2008

Rob Meijer wrote:
> So the user logs in to some ISP abstraction, asks the ISP
> abstraction for a thingy it can delegate to its mail client and than
> delegates that thingy to the mail client.

That is the way to go, with one qualification - it is usually not the 
ISP that provides these services.

Rather than an ISP abstraction, you want an abstraction that reifies hosts.

Contrary to what I wrongly said about install time, rather the time is 
when one is setting up a relationship with a host.  The powerbox 
(trusted software with secure path UI running on the client computer) 
should at that time create a relationship between possibly untrusted 
client software and the appropriate protocol on the host.

The logical place for an abstraction that reifies hosts is in the 
browser chrome around the host web page.  Either the user pops up the 
chrome for this case by clicking on a menu item, or the browser detects 
something in the web page, and brings up extra chrome around this web 
page, which says something like "configure email", or "configure ssh", 
clicking on which then at some stage pops up the powerbox.

And only after you have done the configure magic with the powerbox can 
your email client talk to this host.

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