P@ Log

Patrick Chanezon about Platforms and Software Development


How a Platform based on Open Web standards makes sense during an economic downturn

March 16th, 2009 · 2 Comments

This morning I gave a keynote at the EDC | 2009 Developers Relation Conference called: Google Developer Program: How a Platform based on Open Web standards makes sense during an economic downturn. Since the audience was full of people who do slideware all year long for a living, I though slides would bore them (and at 8:50 in the morning boredom means sleep) I tried a different presentation format and talked through a set of tabs in my browser, containing sites, slides for old presentations, pictures and cool demos. I hope the format worked for those of you in the room. Here are the links I presented as promised.

The main argument of the talk is that one of the inherent advantage of building your platform on open standards and open source gives you a hard to match marketing advantage over your competitors who have to buy attention: you have a lower marketing budget for the same, or more powerful effect. In the current downturn, with shrinking marketing budgets, this seems like a good strategy. I illustrated the talk with various developer events to build the opensocial ecosystem with many partners over the past 18 months.

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Teaching Open Source wiki

March 4th, 2009 · No Comments

The Teaching Open Source wiki “serves as a neutral collaboration point for everyone involved in Teaching Open Source”: this is an excellent initiative. Resource about learning Open Source development are scattered in various places and communities and I hope that this wiki will grow into a useful central repository.

They are using MediaWiki for the wiki, and Sam Ruby’s excellent Planet Venus aggregator to provide an aggregated feed about Open Source teaching. My only regret is that they did not consider integrating a social network from day one, like my colleagues did at OpenSocial.org: Shindig PHP is open source, and should not be too hard to integrate.

If you want to start learning Open Source development, I highly recommend the book Producing Open Source Software by Karl Fogel, as a good way to get started.

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Real time video processing in javascript

March 3rd, 2009 · 3 Comments

2 weeks ago I discovered the Adobe Pixel bender Air application: I thought it was really impressive, and that it was cool that you could use it from Javascript through Flash 10, but I was yearning for an open web equivalent and thought it would take a while before we could do that on top of the html5 video tag.

That’s what i love about this period: the openweb is moving really fast these days. Little did I know that this capability was already present in the Firefox 3.1 beta browser I am using daily. Paul Rouget created a sample showing how today, you can extract the images from a video into a canvas element, from where you can manipulate them.

I spent the evening having fun adding various filters to his sample. See the new sample there. We’re living interesting times!

Caveat: video tag support in Mozilla works only with ogg theora encoded videos.

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Offline Gmail in Labs

January 27th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Offline Gmail has been released today: it uses the Gears API in order to store your mail in a local database. As a prerequisite, you need to install the Gears plugin, or use the Chrome browser.
Alex Chitu at Google Operating System has a list of applications using Gears: Gmail is the most important to date.
The Gmail team decided to release this as a Gmail Labs feature, following the old “Release early, Release often” mantra, that Labs enables.
I hope this will give web developers ideas about how to use Gears in their application: I’m using WordPress Gears on this blog, and it has accelerated the administration user interface speed significantly.

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Innovation happens elsewhere… thanks to APIs

January 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

Paul Buchheit posted an excellent piece today, Communicating with code, which touches many of my favorite topics: the importance of APIs for innovation, prototypes, iteration. He reasserts an idea that I’ve heard initially from Bill Joy at JavaOne 2003, that innovation happens elsewhere.

Public APIs enable everyone to experiment with new ideas and create new ways of using your product. This is incredibly powerful because no matter how brilliant you and your coworkers are, there are always going to be smarter people outside of your company.

In that same spirit, yesterday my colleague Ben Lisbakken released the Ajax API Playground. This should make it much easier for anyone to get started with Google Ajax APIs, and since it is open source, I hope it will be used by many other companies and projects.

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Whitehouse.gov uses an ecclectic, non-partisan mix of technologies

January 21st, 2009 · No Comments

After all the fuss about http://www.whitehouse.gov/robots.txt yesterday, I did a view source and a few searches to see what they were using to build WhiteHouse.gov.

Sam Allen has a good analysis, especially of the performance aspects: I’m in the middle of reading Steve Souders‘ High Performance Websites and many of his advices are followed on the whitehouse site (gzip, using a cdn, Vary: Accept-Encoding), not all.

The site uses many open web standards: the main page is valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional (even if the search results are not), it contains links to 6 application/atom+xml feeds, uses the excellent jquery javascript library (they could serve it from the Google Ajax Libraries source, but they have their own CDN so they don’t need to), and a lib created by a Googler from the Gears/Chrome team, Aaron Boodman‘s dom-drag for drag and drop. The website team is asking users with disabilities to review the site’s accessibility: I hope that my colleague T.V. Raman will review it for them:-)

Whitehouse.gov also uses Microsoft IIS 6.0 as it’s server, the application seems to be asp.net (.aspx), and loads swfobjects.js, probably to instantiate Adobe Flash Player, but I have not found where this is used (the slideshows are driven by JCarousel)

The current source of http://www.whitehouse.gov/ is a really good pragmatic non-partisan mix of technologies that resonates well with Obama’s inauguration speech.

PS: I have a bug report for the White House blog feed. It validates, but the Atom id for all 3 entries is the same, urn:uuid:ca4baafc-b6bc-45e5-9144-79c5289d9518, while the entry elements obviously represent different entries. That should be a simple fix to make.

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Obama’s inauguration viewed from San Francisco

January 20th, 2009 · No Comments

This morning I brought my kids to Civic Center to enjoy this historic day with everyone.
As an immigrant in this country, not yet a citizen, I was very moved by his speech. The cheers when he was sworn in were very impressive, here’s a video to remember them, and a few pictures (I’m giving the new seesmic a try, let’s see how video embedding works there:-).

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Playing with Friend Connect

January 12th, 2009 · No Comments

I just added a third friend connect gadget to this site, the new demo application.

It demonstrates some interesting aspects of Friend Connect:

  • canvas mode
  • the fact that owner’s friends are the site members in Friend Connect: opensocial.DataRequest.newFetchPersonRequest( new opensocial.IdSpec({'userId' : 'OWNER', 'groupId' : 'FRIENDS'}));

I own that site, and when logged in as the viewer here is what I see, in canvas mode. Notice how the viewer’s friends are different from the owner’s friends. The owner is not me, I am the OWNER’s ADMINS.

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Slides for JAOO talk about OpenSocial

September 29th, 2008 · No Comments

This week I am in Aarhus, Denmark for the JAOO conference. This morning I gave a talk about OpenSocial, Open Social A Standard For The Social Web, here are the slides.

The conference schedule looks really cool, I hope I will have some time to attend many of the sessions. Right now I’m listening to Ola Bini, one of the JRuby guys, talking about Oracle Mix and OpenSocial.

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Slides for DDB Digital Days presentation about Open Source, Google APIs and OpenSocial

September 17th, 2008 · No Comments

DDB Digital Days is a great event. I chatted with advertisers, developers, some Microsoft folks, and now I’m listening to Rafi Haladjian, creator of the wifi rabbit Nabaztag, presenting his new object.
Here are the slides.

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