Wednesday, 31 January 2007
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Google Checkout API on O'Reilly Windows DevCenter

Our very own Martin Omander can be found guest starring over at the O'Reilly Windows DevCenter. Martin has written a detailed and enjoyable tutorial on implementing a .NET application using the Google Checkout API. Insightful reading for Google Checkout users, even those that work on a different platform or in a different programming language. Read the full article at: Build a .NET App for Google Checkout.

Thursday, 25 January 2007
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Mike Pinkerton on Camino & More

For those of you who weren't able to attend the last Open Source Developers @ Google Speaker Series session, you can check out the video of Mike Pinkerton's talk on Camino.

And if you should find yourself in the Mountain View, California area this evening, please do stop by for Ben Collins-Sussman and Brian Fitzpatrick's presentation on "How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People (And You Can Too)."

Wednesday, 24 January 2007
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We Want You to Write More Tests. Yes, You.

Post by Michelle Levesque, Google Software Engineer

Today we're unveiling the public release of "Testing on the Toilet": one of Google's little secrets that has helped us inspire our developers to write well-tested code. We regularly write flyers about everything from dependency injection to code coverage, and then plaster the bathrooms all over Google with each episode, almost 500 stalls worldwide.

We've decided to share this secret weapon with the rest of the world to spread our passion to other developers, and to provide a fun and easy way to educate yourself (and the rest of your company) about these important tricks and techniques.

We'll be posting episodes on the brand new Google Testing Blog on a regular basis and providing PDFs so you can print them out and put them up in your own bathrooms, hallways, kitchens, moon bases, secret underground fortresses, wherever. Send your photos and stories to and let us know how Testing on the Toilet is received at your company.

And meanwhile, keep writing those tests.

The ActionScript Open Source Libraries

Our friends at Adobe recently started hosting their open source projects on Google Code. We wanted to hear a bit more about their experience moving ActionScript 3 libraries over to Google Code, and here is what they had to say:
The ActionScript Open Source libraries are a set of ActionScript 3 libraries created by Adobe that make it easy to work with online APIs in Flash and Flex applications. There are libraries included for Flickr, YouTube , Mappr, as well as a general utility Library (corelib), a unit testing framework (Flex Unit), as well as a complete library for reading RSS and ATOM feeds.

We recently moved these libraries from our own
Adobe Labs site to Google Code, and have been very happy with the results thus far. The projects were always intended to be community run projects, but our initial deployment site did not have the infrastructure in place to handle hosting an open source project with multiple developers. As the libraries became more and more popular, and as we continued to get requests from developers to improve and contribute code, we decided that we needed to move to a system that would better allow the developer community to contribute to the projects.

We looked at a number of code repositories, but decided on Google Code because it had all of the features that we wanted (Subversion, Issue Tracking, Downloads, Wiki and Groups), and integrated them in a way we felt was intuitive and straightforward. We did run into some initial problems moving the code from our Subversion repository to Google Code, but with some help from Google, were able to make the transition.

We have already seen more participation from the developer community, and have added new features and fixed some bugs. We expect that the projects will continue to grow as more developers start working with ActionScript, Flash and Flex.

Mike Potter, Adobe

Sunday, 21 January 2007
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Introducing pactester

Post by Manu Garg, Google Systems Administrator

I'm pleased to announce that we've just released pactester, a tool to test the proxy auto-configuration (PAC) files used by browsers to identify the correct proxy server for a given URL. Since the PAC file evaluation mechanism is generated inside the browser and cannot be accessed from outside, the only way to tell which proxy your browser will use for a specific URL is manual inspection of the PAC file. Unfortunately, this approach is error prone and quickly becomes impractical for large and complex PAC files. Enter pactester, which resolves this issue by simulating browser behavior.

For more on pactester, check out the project documentation.

Open Source Developers @ Google Speaker Series: Ben Collins-Sussman and Brian Fitzpatrick

Ben Collins-Sussman and Brian "Fitz" Fitzpatrick, two of the engineers behind our project hosting service, will be joining us this week to discuss "How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People (And You Can Too)." Based on their experiences with the Apache, Subversion and other open source projects, Ben and Fitz will cover effective ways of dealing with difficult people who join your community.

Please feel free to join us for the presentation this Thursday, January 25th at our Corporate Headquarters in Mountain View. Doors will open at 6:30 PM and refreshments will be served. Ben and Fitz will begin speaking at 7:00 PM. Please plan to sign in at Building 41 reception when you arrive.

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, 11 January 2007
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MacFUSE: FUSE for Mac OS X

Post by Amit Singh, Mac Engineering Manager

Today Google is releasing MacFUSE, an open-source Mac port of the FUSE mechanism for Linux. Like FUSE, it enables developers to implement a fully functional file system in a user-space program. And since it aims to be API-compliant with the original FUSE (Filesystem in USErspace) for Linux, it makes many existing FUSE file systems readily usable on Mac OS X. The core of MacFUSE consists of a dynamically loadable kernel extension.

This release of MacFUSE includes the following components:
  • Virtual file system (VFS) kernel extension
  • Special-purpose mount_fusefs program
  • Patch to the FUSE user-space library
  • Patch to the SSHFS file system
Developers, we want your help to make this project even more robust and useful. 

For more information on MacFUSE and how the project got started, please go to the project's Google Code page and also check out the Google Mac Blog

Wednesday, 10 January 2007
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Getting organized for 2007

Post by Peter Deng, Developer Team

It wasn't exactly our New Year's resolution, but we've done it anyway: reorganized parts of the Google Code site to make it easier to navigate. The AJAX Search API homepage has a new look and feel; check out the new example pages. If you're not yet an expert on the API, start with our code samples to learn more, or use our wizards to add AJAX search to your page without writing any code.

The Google Data API pages also got a facelift. In addition to new documentation for the Blogger, Calendar, Code Search and Spreadsheets data APIs, we've added example projects for each product. Let us know what you've built, and we may just feature your project.

We hope you will find this new organization helpful. Looking forward to seeing some great apps in 2007!

Friday, 5 January 2007
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Open Source Developers @ Google Speaker Series: Mike Pinkerton

On Wednesday, January 10th, we'll be welcoming Mike Pinkerton for the third instance of the Open Source Developers @ Google Speaker Series.  Mike, lead developer for Camino, will discuss the past, present & future of the project, as well as lessons learned from Mozilla and the community.

Please feel free to join us at our Corporate Headquarters in Mountain View, CA at 7:00 PM for Mike's talk. Doors open at 6:30 PM, and refreshments will be served; please plan to sign in at Building 41 reception when you arrive. We hope to see you there!

For those unable to attend the December 2006 session, you can check out the video of Angela Byron, Hannes Papenberg and Laurens Vandeput presenting on Drupal, Joomla! and Google Summer of Code. The presentation contains great material on GSoC from the student perspective, which will be valuable for potential mentors and students alike.

Thursday, 4 January 2007
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Google and the Imara Project

Post by Jonathan Proulx, MIT CSAIL

Thanks to a generous grant from Google's Open Source Program Office, the Imara Project at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) was able to provide computers based on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) for each elementary school in Fiji's rural Taveuni school district. (note that this project is separate from OLPC)

We chose laptops for the project, both for shipping concerns (shipping PCs to developing nations tends to be prohibitively expensive) and because electrical power isn't available at all the school locations. We used Lenovo Thinkpad R52s due to their large screens, low cost, and Linux-friendly components. Three members of the CSAIL community took the 10 laptops as carry-on luggage, and held training sessions for the teachers once they arrived in Fiji.

The FOSS component is central to the sustainability and adaptability of the project. Since it's free, there's no additional software cost when the project expands, or if community groups wish to further leverage the technology. Since it is Open Source, once the userbase becomes sophisticated enough it will be simpler to adapt the software to meet local needs, such as adding Fijian language support.

Edubuntu (a Debian GNU/Linux-derived operating system specifically tailored for educational environments) was chosen as the laptops' operating system. Edubuntu provides virtually all the packages required for a good K-12 classroom environment, with minimal configuration. The only program we added outside Edubuntu was GeoGebra, a dynamic interactive mathematics application for exploring geometry, algebra, and calculus.

Configuration included creating a privileged "teacher" account as part of the basic install process, and adding an unprivileged and password-less "student" account. We configured the desktop environments with icons for the most relevant applications (office/productivity applications for teachers, and educational programs for students), and set the window system to automatically log in the "student" account on startup, and that was that!

Here are the applications we selected for the student desktops:Imara volunteers provided initial training in two day-long sessions, graciously hosted by Maravu Plantation on Taveuni Island, Fiji.

Follow-up activities are also in the planning stages, including a 20-seat Edubuntu installation at one of the larger schools, and further developing local expertise by sponsoring a Fijian teacher's travel to spend time at CSAIL with members of Project Imara.

Wednesday, 3 January 2007
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Google Summer of Code Update: The Free Network Project

Matthew Toseland, who mentored three out of four of last year's GSoC students for The Free Network Project, wrote a round-up post for the program's conclusion; in a private mail (reprinted with his permission), Matthew writes:
"Michael Rogers is busily helping us with simulations, which should result in a new load management architecture and greatly improved performance. His last commit was yesterday.

Florent Daigniere is busy but continues to make significant contributions as well as being a great person to bounce ideas off of on IRC. However he was working with us quite extensively before GSoC; GSoC meant we could have continuity. Last commit yesterday.

Jerome Flesch wasn't my student, but he continues to commit improvements to Thaw, and is active on Frost (our internal chat system). Last commit Monday. ... Jerome's first commitwas on the 6th of June 2006."
Congratulations to the mentors and students of The Free Network Project for their tremendous success in GSoC last year. We're extremely proud that 75% of your GSoC students became committers.

Tuesday, 2 January 2007
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Google Summer of Code Update: Joomla!

When I met Joomla!'s core developer team during a recent talk at their Dutch Community Days, I was quite impressed by how much enthusiasm they showed for the Google Summer of Code program. You can check out the detailed wrap up report for more information on all of Joomla!'s projects for 2006; each of Joomla's students completed the program successfully. Of the six students who worked with Joomla! during 2006, three have joined the project's Development Workgroup, along with one mentor; these three students are regularly committing code that will be used in upcoming releases.

We were fortunate enough to have Joomla!'s two GSoC program administrators, Louis Landry and Wilco Jansen, visit Google before the recent holidays. We talked them into giving a presentation to us about their project and GSoC, and you check out their talk on Google Video. They give some great advice for potential GSoCers, both mentors and students.

Congratulations to the Joomla! mentors and students for 2006, and many thanks to Joomla! for joining us in the program once again!