WSO2 Gadget Server 1.1.0, What to expect

WSO2 Carbon 3.0.0 – code name “Iridium” is just about to release in few more days. as of WSO2’s release strategy, all the products will graduate with their next version on top of carbon based platform. As for the newly released Gadget Server it would be version 1.1.0

Features were frozen for version 1.1.0 and that was in the end of February as I recall. We (the GS team) managed to squeeze in few new very important features to this release.

  • Upgraded shindig to the latest version

This was a bummer, since WSO2 Carbon platform is running on OSGi, if you had to use a non native OSGi project (i.e. Shindig) you will have to create an OSGi aware carbon orbit bundle and make use of it at run time. This was done some time back where shindig was on r734876 revision. In-order to leverage new functionalities such as OAuth, Pub-Sub etc. and to patch the bug fixes we thought of updating the shindig carbon orbit bundle. So now shindig is on r910768 and is quite up to date.

  • i18n internationalization support for gadgets

i18n is not a big deal for Google gadgets since the gadget API itself supports it, What we had to do is enable i18n support in shindig. (Which was already implemented by the shindig community)

  • Inter Gadget communication

Inter gadget communication, seemed to be the hot topic in our forums and webinars, all most in all tech talks we did about the Gadget Server, some person in the audience raised the question about gadget-to-gadget communication. Our answer was “it can be done at shindig level, and we are yet to support it”. So without a long await, with GS v1.1.0 we enabled this feature. The architecture is quite fascinating where there will be zero backend calls and all the communication is done simply on the front-end. Basically each publisher will have a publishing channel and the subscribers can subscribe to this channel. After that its simple pub-sub.

  • The portal will completely run on HTTP transport

This was a limitation we had in our fist release. The portal was running only on HTTPS, and the reason behind was that all WSO2 products are running on secure transport and the Gadget Server is also a combination of some specific components which ran on the same platform. For this release we went the extra mile and enabled HTTP for the portal. So once you go to the login page it will switch to the secure transport (HTTPS) and after successful login you will redirect back to the HTTP non-secure mode. (Of cause you can disable HTTP any time and run the portal purely on HTTPS, it all depends on the requirement.)

One disappointment I have is that we couldn’t integrate OAuth on time. even though it is supported at shindig level we have to do a considerable amount of work from the Gadget Server side to fully support it, hence it is postponed to our next release. You can try the sample OAuth GData Gadget, simply adding it by the URL, and that will work like a charm. (nothing useful but just to let you know that we are only few steps behind on it)

Okey so enough sneak peak 😉 download the Gadget Server pre-beta, play with it, and help us to improve (even in the last minute) by reporting any issues.

Cheers !!

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Reality of virtual trade

Internet is rushed with the term “virtual” these days. Every business strategy, every service and a software has the virtual term bind to it. It had come to a point  that we use several operating systems in the same desktop box using virtualization, and that’s what I know about the term “virtual”. But this post is not about Xen/VMWare virtualization nor application hosting on virtual private servers (VPS) it is more in to second life, yahoo’s avatar world or currently dead lively.

As we all know the harsh truth is that Business drives IT, but I like to believe that virtual worlds have created new avenues to do better and profitable business and not vice-versa. This post is dedicated to one such research, which was done by one of my collogues for her bachelors thesis. The aim of the project was to research on creating sustainable business environments in virtual worlds. Her test beds were mainly the popular public virtual worlds such as second life, Google lively and avatar city. The thesis contains alot of valuable data, for example the user density in these worlds, what are the brands who is actively doing business in virtual worlds, their success stories and if not how they failed, creative strategies to do business in such environments etc. Also as the research conclusions the thesis elaborate a set of best practises and a business model to conduct sustainable business in these platforms.

Distribution of Real World Brands
Distribution of Real World Brands in SL by 2007 (KZero 2007)

SL User Base (Linden Research, Inc 2009)
Second Life User Base (Linden Research, Inc 2009)

Even though, we do not see massive marketing campaigns or  business growth in these platforms yet, it seems that these virtual realities has alot to offer, for instance at WSO2 we can conduct a series of webnars in second life and we can ask our users to subscribe as avatars, I believe that would be a great experience. 🙂

Any how you might also get a slight chill or goose bumps, if you have already watched few related movies like Gamer (2009) or Hardwired (2009), as every technology has its dark side, I believe if we focus on its promising potential, definitely virtual worlds would be the future.

More details about the research and the thesis can be found at http://bit.ly/a4wr9W