Tuesday, 29 January 2008
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Interview with Steve Yegge on Rhino on Rails and more

Last year, Steve Yegge posted about Rhino on Rails, his port of Ruby on Rails to the JavaScript language on the Rhino runtime. It garnered a slew of interest, and I have been wanting to talk to him in more detail about the project.

Fortunately, I happened to be at the Google Kirkland office and Steve graciously had time to spend talking about the framework. Steve is an entertaining chap, and manages to keep you interested with long blog entries, and did the same as I chatted with him.

In the conversation we cover the germination of the project, why Steve went ahead with the port, the side effects of JavaScript on the server, how Rhino will be implementing JavaScript 2 / ECMAScript 4 (with Google committing engineers to the project), the intent to open source RnR, and random thoughts from a language geek.

Give it a watch, and let us know if there are any other questions you would have liked to ask

Friday, 25 January 2008
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Compiere: Building a GWT interface for opensource ERP

The Compiere team is trying to make ERP easier. I had a chance to catch up with Gary Wu, Di Zhao and Chris Sprague of the Compiere engineering team. We talked about their recently shipped open source ERP solution that now includes a GWT-based rich internet interface.

Using GWT was natural for the developers and allowed them to create a highly productive web experience for Compiere users in just a few months of effort. Listen to the Compiere developers discuss their experiences with GWT and see a demo of the new Compiere Web user interface.

Thursday, 24 January 2008
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Heading to linux.conf.au?

Several folks from Google Sydney and beyond will be attending linux.conf.au 2008 in Melbourne, Australia next week and we're looking forward to sharing a week of FLOSS and fun with our fellow attendees. If you're heading to the conference, stop by our table at Open Day to learn more about Google's global open source initiatives. We'd also love to have any students, whether you're a local or just in town for the conference, join us on Thursday evening for our student party; several Google Summer of Code students and mentors have already let us know they'll be coming. You are, of course, welcome to join us at the Google conference wrap-up party on Friday evening. We'll be hosting a grand barbecue, with plenty of options for our vegetarian and vegan friends.

You may also be interested in these talks given by Googlers:
Anthony Baxter, Python's Release Engineer and a recent addition to Sydney's engineering team, will deliver Friday's opening Keynote, Two Snake Enter, One Snake Leave.

We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 23 January 2008
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KDE 4.0 Release Event wrap-up

I had the pleasure of helping out with the KDE 4.0 Release Event this past weekend. With attendees of all ages and backgrounds from around the world, the event was a huge success. In addition to a great coming out party for KDE 4.0, it was also the venue in which Trolltech announced it would adopt GPL 3 for Qt.

Thursday was 'un-conference' style with attendees organizing impromptu BOFs and breakout sessions. However, a lot of people spent a good portion of the day discovering who else was there, as many of the KDE developers and community members were meeting each other for the first time.

Friday was the big day with around 150 people and 2 dragons in attendance. Aaron Seigo's keynote was well received by KDE release parties going on simultaneously around the world, thanks to the video streaming magic of Franz Keferböck. Many other speakers graced the podium after Aaron, including the two Release Event Contest winners, Kyle Cunningham and Aron Stansvik. The day finished with cocktails and a special vintage provided by Celeste.

Things wrapped up on Saturday with a few more BOFs. Since we had all that A/V goodness going unused, many attendees took it upon themselves to give a presentation or two. The most popular one was the Amarok 2 talk given by Jeff Mitchell and Leo Franchi (both worked on Amarok as Google Summer of Code students).

All in all, everyone seemed to have a great time. Many thanks go to my co-conspirators Tiffany and Cat from the Open Source Team, and to Wade, Franz, Sebas, Troy and Jeff of KDE for their efforts in putting the event together. I hear that a similar event is in the works for next year. Here's hoping Aaron Seigo does karaoke at that one too.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008
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iGoogle Themes API

Recently, on a trip to Shanghai, I snapped a bunch of incredible street photos for my friends and family back home. When I logged into my iGoogle page and was greeted by my iGoogle theme, I suddenly wished I could create my own theme out of my Shanghai pictures and share it with my friends - wouldn't that be a great way to personalize iGoogle even further? It turns out that many of you have been asking for this feature for a while too, and we've listened to your requests. I'm excited to announce that after today's launch of the iGoogle Themes API, we can all get started on making and sharing our own themes.

Creating your own theme isn't rocket science. If you can create a webpage, then you can create a theme. There are only three steps involved: designing images for the header and footer, entering metadata and color information in an XML file, and submitting the theme. To find out more about the API, start with the developer guide. You can also take a look at the terrific example themes (shown below) built by designers Yves Behar, Mark Frauenfelder, Troy Lee, and John Maeda that showcase different parts of the API. These themes, along with themes you submit, will be available in the new themes directory for the millions of iGoogle users. So try it out and let us know what you think!

Earth-light by Yves Behar, founder of the San Francisco design studio fuseproject:

Adventures in Lollipopland by Mark Frauenfelder, writer, illustrator, co-founder of Boing Boing, and editor-in-chief of Make Magazine:

Supermoto Mayhem by Troy Lee, designer and founder of Troy Lee Designs:

Simplicity is Complex by John Maeda, graphic designer, artist, Associate Director of Research at the MIT Media Laboratory, and recently named as the next President of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD):

Tuesday, 15 January 2008
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Wednesday in San Francisco: OpenSocial Hackathon at Six Apart

On Wednesday (tomorrow!) Six Apart will be hosting an OpenSocial Hackathon at their office in San Francisco to let people get their hands dirty with OpenSocial, Shindig, and Caja. In addition to the Googlers working on OpenSocial, you'll be able to chat with engineers from at least hi5, MySpace, Oracle, Orkut, and Plaxo. The event starts at 4pm PST and will be going deep into the night -- so it's okay if you can't make it right on time. The office is conveniently located near Macworld, not to mention Caltrain, BART, and MUNI.

We'd love it if you could RSVP on Upcoming, though it isn't formally required. Be sure to bring your laptop and perhaps a few friends.

Of course, there will be copious beer and pizza.

Thursday, 10 January 2008
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An OpenSocial HappyHour party with Gears

Chandra Patni is an engineer at IGN who saw a good way to develop using OpenSocial. Some hacking later, and he ended up with happyhour, an open source OpenSocial container powered by Google Gears.

Brad Neuberg and myself got together with Chandra to discuss the project.

In the conversation below you will hear about:
  • How happyhour increases developer productivity when building OpenSocial components
  • How designers have been able to work with his OpenSocial applications with happyhour
  • How happyhour differs from another open source container, Apache Shindig
  • His experience, and lessons learned using Gears
  • How he added support for ISO dates for Gears using SQLite

There is room for potential collaboration with Apache Shindig too. The projects can share the same data format, or happyhour could even hook into Apache Shindig in some way.

If you would like to make changes on the fly as you develop your OpenSocial applications, then give happyhour a look. Want to see a few more details about the code? Read more over at the Gears blog.

Monday, 7 January 2008
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ChartMaker: A tool for the Google Chart API

Since we launched the Google Chart API last month we've been thrilled to see so many creative tools written to use it. From Ruby, to Python, to Groovy, it looks like languages are being covered one by one.

Even our own Dion Almaer stepped into the fray with his new ChartMaker tool. ChartMaker, the source code for which is available on Google Code, is an Ajax-based application that makes it easy to experiment with and customize Google Charts.

Have you been building something interesting with the Google Chart API? Please let us know in the comments and join us in the discussion group.

Thursday, 3 January 2008
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Google Developer Courses on YouTube

Wow, it's been nearly 4 months since we started the Google Developers channel on YouTube! We wanted a place to post talks, announcements, interviews, and anything else that might interest outside developers (and other fans). Now, we're building out more tutorial / lecture content -- something that hobbyists and seasoned programmers can watch to get their feet wet with our products.

We know that one of your New Year's resolutions must be to learn a new API, so check out our first videos on Gadgets and Google Data:

Three videos about Getting Started with Gadgets by "the Dans" (Daniel Lee and Daniel Holevoet):

An Introduction to Google Data by Jeff Fisher:

We're just getting started, so subscribe to the Google Developer Courses playlist for updates. There are many ways for you to keep up to date:

You can subscribe through YouTube by clicking the "Subscribe" link here:

Or, add the playlist directly into Google Reader or iGoogle:
Add to Google

Finally, you can also put the Google Data feed into your reader of choice: http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/playlists/A930398A6117E70C

Let us know what you think! If there are any particular tutorials you'd like to see, post a comment below.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008
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Thanks to you

Many thanks to all of our users and developers for helping to make Google Gears one of PC World's 25 Most Innovative Products of the Year! And congrats to everyone else who made the list. It's been quite an exciting ride for Gears since its launch at Developer Day in May, and we've had tons of fun seeing what has already been created. Thanks for making 2007 such a great year, and we look forward to seeing all the cool stuff the community comes up with next.

To learn more, check out the documentation and the Gears Blog. And, of course, let us know what you think.