2nd Wave meetup in Copenhagen

If you are in Copenhagen this week it might be worth going by the IT-university. We are having our 2.nd Google Wave meetup there.

This time we will focus on development of gadgets. There will be demonstrations on how gadgets and robots can be created.

Jacob Andersen will show how to create a python robot that can convert a wave to a pdf file. The code can already be found at github http://github.com/jacobandresen/pdf-thingy 

Daniel Graversen (me) will talk how to make gadgets using Flex. I just need to create a presentation.

I hope that we can get somebody to tell how wave is useful in their industry.

The event will take place Wednesday the 3 of February. The room number will be availed on Wednesday on the Wave.

For more information look see this Wave.

Why is flex the best way to make Google Wave gadgets?

Before anything else, let’s have a short introduction about Flex. Flex is actually a software development kit released by Adobe that will let you develop and deploy a cross-platform rich internet applications (RIA) having Adobe Flash as its platform for web and Adobe Air for desktop version. Since according to Adobe Flash Player Statistics, flash reaches 99% of all the internet-enabled PCs all over the world; and that will give us the start. Now, let’s proceed to the core. I got two sides to completely turn your thoughts to consider Flex.

First, for the developer’s side, programming structure would be a concern and with Adobe Flex, coding are not that complicated since it is readable in an English like manner but of course you need to have a programmer’s logical thinking to get it going. It’s easy to integrate designs and even apply effects (as we all familiar with flash) to help improve your applications. Adobe Flex builder 3 and Adobe Flash Builder Beta are commonly used IDEs for developing Flex. Exporting and importing projects with the IDEs makes it easier to share or work on projects with the group and one thing that really bites me as a developer is the debugging feature. Debugging is your best bud to get your codes work well. When it comes to support for Flex, there are tons of tutorials available that you can research on the web and you can even start with the video tutorials from Adobe’s “Flex in a week”. So, as a developer, if you want to develop an impressive, well-presented, interactive, and functioning application, Flex is a top option. Even though there’s still some few bugs especially in flex 4 considering it’s still in beta, solutions are highly attainable.

Second, for the users’ side, presentation and functionality of the application are always been their issue. The users are the major factor to know if the application is well-developed. If the design or layout of the application is way too dull even if the functionality works well, the tendency is that the users will get bored and sometimes get confused to use the application. With Adobe Flex, great designs, interactivity and functionality can easily be binded together to create a stunning application. Users will then be interested, become familiar and the environmental cues are that understandable. Applications well-developed in Flex are always been that impressive towards the users. You can hear them say, “WOW!, NICE!, GREAT!, FANTASTIC!, WORKS WELL!”, and all other good stuff rather than “WOAH! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” and that is really heartbreaking.

Well, if you want to experience what has been written here, you might as well try our scrum gadgets in Flex and if you have a chance please post a comment for it will help a lot. Thanks for reading and have a nice day to all!

Google Wave Gadgets lack quality

I tested quite a bit of different Google Wave gadgets in my christmas calender last month. I tried 40 different apps with a large verity in their complexity and usability. Some of them did not have any useful functions or did not work.

I really liked many of the ideas created in the gadgets and some was really useful. It was fun to see how people wanted to impress with new ideas.

The quality of the gadgets and robot was lausy. Mine included. I believe that many of to my application must be improved. But with the limited option in the robot API hinders making layouts to shine. It also provide a hindering there is a lack of way the gadget/robots can work together. If there was a better way to make the gadgets/robot work together, the layout issues could be solved.

I will say that most of the gadgets except maybe the simpler voting gadgets all require extra work before they can be used by a wider audience. The robots where you need to write commands with # or ! as the only thing in blip, I doubt that my mother will pick it up easily which is required to get non tech savvy users on board.

One key to make it possible to get the robot to function better is to pay the developers. I guess most of the developers of the robots/gadgets I have seen just tried the protocol out of see if they could make something useful. And they can. But to make them look wave-y the gadgets need to look better.

To make the gadgets/robot complete we need to be able to get some better apis and more importantly be able to charge for your apps. Currently it can be possible to charge for the usage of a robot and with some development also a gadget, but it is a pain and will require to much of the user.

I’m therefore looking forward a Wave app store is created. It will be interesting to see if it only supports one time payments or monthly payments and maybe even corporate multi seat licenses. The wave app store will mean that more developers will start with developing programs for Google Wave, making the platform more attractive.

I’m currently only letting my apps be available to my mail list subscribers. We have a new scrum gadget that just need to be published. So sign up to the newsletter and try it out.

WaveCalender 14: Wave Extension Installer XML file creator

After a while of strenuous coding and testing, the developer is ready to make his/her work public. But one obstacle still remains for the developer and that is to make the Wave extension Installer.

The Wave extension installer is important as this simplifies the task in installing the app on wave. Because the developer aims his/her work for the public to use, the developer should make everything easy for the users to install and use his/her app. Imagine if you have to make your users learn a scripting language before they can use your app, chances are your users may grow tired of it and may missed the chance of using your app.

The Wave Extension Installer XML File Creator is an app specifically designed for developers to simplify their work on creating Wave Extension Installers. This app is built on Flex and using the wave-as-client ActionScript Library for Flex. This is a nice app to use for first time developers and to some because after all those strenuous coding and testing, developers may get lazy to create the wave extension installer. With this app, all you have to do is fill out the form, click “Done”, and copy the generated XML content. Just remember the app is bigger than a regular size blip so you may have to maximize your wavelet to fully view the app.

You can try out the app in this gadget XML URL: http://wave-as-client.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/example/wave_install_creator/web/wave_install_creator.xml

WordPress robot updated

I have updated the WordPress robot (WP-BOT@appspot.com) to publish to your own blog. This feature has been requested by many users, so I thought it was time to give it a try. The usage of the robot is fairly simple. The original version of the robot was described in this post, where I just proved the concept was possible.

Simply add the robot to a Wave. You don’t have any credentials connected with your Wave your you will get a link, where you can enter information about your WordPress. Next time you add the robot to a wave, the new Wave will be published to a new Wave.

To use the plugin simply add Wavr to your blog and in Setting -> Writing Settings make sure XML-RPC is activate.

The usage is also showed on this video.

Do you have any suggestion on how I can make the service even better?