WIP: Widgets and Gadgets

This is the fifth in my series of Web Integration Patterns. Check out the intro at this URL http://rollerweblogger.org/roller/entry/web_integration_patterns


Allow other web sites and applications to integrate your site into their web pages by providing an embeddable user interface, commonly known as a Gadget or Widget, which allows users to view and interact with your site in the context of other sites.


  • By embedding Widgets in your site, you can make your site more useful and informative to your users. Users can access relevant information from other sites in the context of your web site.
  • By allow other sites to embed your Widgets, you can give your site and the services that it offers wider reach. Your users can access and interact with your services in the context of other sites.
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Twitter moving away from hashbang URLs

This is such good news for the web that it gets its own blog entry. According to Dan Web, an engineer at Twitter:

@timhaines plus, now I'm in charge of undoing twitters hashbang URLs I can 
confirm that all the issues in that article are very real.
@danwrong x months from now (when your project completes) Twitter will no
longer use hashbangs?
@timhaines correct. All gone. It was a mistake for several reasons.
PushState or bust.

The whole conversation is here:

Here's an excellent chapter on HTML 5 history and PushState: http://diveintohtml5.info/history.html

And in case you've forgotten, here's why hashbangs suck.

The meaning of the Facebook like button

HTML5 Microdata and Schema.org

Worth a read and related to my Web Integration Patterns post on Embedded Properties in HTML:

HTML5 Microdata and Schema.org:HTML5 Microdata and Schema.org On June 2, 2011, Bing, Google, and Yahoo! announced the joint effort Schema.org. When the big search engines talk, Web site authors listen. This article is an introduction to Microdata and Schema.org. The first section describes what HTML5, Microdata and Schema.org are, and the problems they have been designed to solve. With this foundation in place section 2 provides a practical tutorial of how to use Microdata and Schema.org using a real life example from the cultural heritage sector. Along the way some tools for implementers will also be introduced. Issues with applying these technologies to cultural heritage materials will crop up along with opportunities to improve the situation.

Understanding Google's new privacy policy

Worth a read:

Understanding Google's new privacy policy: When Google changed its privacy policy last week, they made a strong effort to ensure that everyone knew that a change had occurred, but if you tried to figure out what had actually changed, you had to wade through a lot of buzzwords and legalese. Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Rainey Reitman explains it in simple language.

How to select an Open Source project

A reasonable check-list for selecting an open source project:

How I select Open Source projects: An Open Source project is more than its set of tools. But this post is not about what is better, github or ASF. Much has been said already about it (and too much bullshit). What really bugs me is that people seem to choose Open Source projects after the tools the projects use. Here is my personal list after which I choose projects.

IBM abandons Lotus Symphony

Apparently 2001 called and asked for its office suite back.

IBM to close down Symphony, its OpenOffice fork | ZDNet : This move can’t come as too much of a surprise. In July 2011, IBM started donating its Symphony code to the Apache Foundation, which is now overseeing the remains of the OpenOffice project. I say “remains” because most of the development energy in the OpenOffice family has been going to the LibreOffice fork. Many users and Linux distributors, such as Ubuntu, have replaced OpenOffice with LibreOffice.

Scott McNealy's Wayin weighs in on the election

Nice coverage of Wayin in CNN Money:

Scott McNealy's Wayin weighs in on the election - Fortune Tech: Nearly 30 years after he co-founded Sun, and two years after the company sold to Oracle (ORCL), one of the tech industry's most outspoken and colorful executives is back. Only instead of selling servers and software to businesses, he's trying to get consumers, sports teams, and corporations -- and politicians -- to embrace a social media tool that's a little hard to define: It is part polling app, part interactive media tool (think Twitter), and part enterprise service.

The polling software at the heart of Wayin is super easy to use. It allows you to create basic questionnaires, on the web or using a mobile app, by selecting an image and asking a question. Pick a photo of the Fab Four, ask Who is your favorite Beatle?, and bingo, the answers from your followers will start trickling in immediately.

Tim Bray on HttpURLConnection

Good information on a bad API. The comments are good too:

HttpURLConnection's Dark Secrets: If you’re programming in the Java language and want to talk to a Web server, there are several libraries you can choose from. HttpURLConnection is one popular choice, and for Android programming, the engineering team has now officially suggested that you use it where possible.

O'Grady on DynamoDB

Great analysis, as usual, from Stephen O'Grady of Redmonk. Here's the part about Dynamo that concerns me, the lock-in:

Amazon DynamoDB: First Look: Like the initial wave of PaaS platforms, however, DynamoDB is available only through a single provider. Unlike Amazon’s RDS, which is essentially compatible with MySQL, DynamoDB users will be unable to migrate off of the service seamlessly. The featureset can be replicated using externally available code – via those projects that were originally inspired by DynamoDB, for example – but you cannot at this time download, install and run DynamoDB locally.

Amazon DymamoDB

Worth a read:

Werner Vogels: Amazon DynamoDB is a fully managed NoSQL database service that provides fast performance at any scale. Today’s web-based applications often encounter database scaling challenges when faced with growth in users, traffic, and data. With Amazon DynamoDB, developers scaling cloud-based applications can start small with just the capacity they need and then increase the request capacity of a given table as their app grows in popularity. Their tables can also grow without limits as their users store increasing amounts of data. Behind the scenes, Amazon DynamoDB automatically spreads the data and traffic for a table over a sufficient number of servers to meet the request capacity specified by the customer. Amazon DynamoDB offers low, predictable latencies at any scale.

The joys of solitude

Worth a read:

The Rise of the New Groupthink - NYTimes.com: Solitude has long been associated with creativity and transcendence. “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible,” Picasso said. A central narrative of many religions is the seeker — Moses, Jesus, Buddha — who goes off by himself and brings profound insights back to the community.

Obama Administration Comes Out Against SOPA, PIPA

I feel pretty strongly about this. I won't vote for a politician who backs SOPA or PIPA:

Obama Administration Comes Out Against SOPA, PIPA | TPM Idea Lab:Even more promising for critics of the bills, the Administration came down firmly against one of the most vehemently opposed portions of the bills — the part that would give the government the power to force Internet Service Providers to stop loading overseas webpages accused of piracy. Under the original versions of SOPA and PIPA, ISPs would be required to change their Doman Name System settings to block sites accused of piracy, a measure that critics said would essentially break the Internet and make it more insecure.

NYC gets a Software Engineering High School

Worth a read:

New York City gets a Software Engineering High School - Joel on Software:This fall New York City will open The Academy for Software Engineering, the city’s first public high school that will actually train kids to develop software. The project has been a long time dream of Mike Zamansky, the highly-regarded CS teacher at New York’s elite Stuyvesant public high school. It was jump started when Fred Wilson, a VC at Union Square Ventures, promised to get the tech community to help with knowledge, advice, and money.

The coming war on general-purpose computing

Cory Doctorow's keynote to the Chaos Computer Congress. Worth a read:

Lockdown: The coming war on general-purpose computing - Boing Boing

Open-source vs Weblogic and WebSphere

Survey says 80% of New Relic's Java customers choose open source app servers over expensive bloat-ware.

Server wars: Open-source Java vs Weblogic and WebSphere | Software, Interrupted - CNET News: Overall, it's not surprising that users who are deploying their applications to the cloud are more likely to use open source, if for no other reason than that licensing is far simpler. Additionally, there are Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) available for most open source stacks, making it very easy to choose open source over a traditionally licensed application server.

Looks like I'll be waiting for Netbeans 7.1.1

jVi Home Page: NetBeans 7.1 Bug 205835 can lose edits; a variety of jVi commands run into this. jVi-1.4.5 disables itself if it detects module versions with the bug, AFAICT. The bug is scheduled to be fixed in NB-7.1.1; sometime around January/February.

Seriously, how can you ship without vi?

State of Android

I hate the "will die" title but Antonio Rodriguz insightfully sums up the state of Android and it does not sound strong, to say the least. All the more reason to take a hybrid approach, e.g. project formerly known as PhoneGap.

Android as we know it will die in the next two years and what it means for you: I used to think that, as with Linux and web services in the early part of last decade, Android was going to be the mortar for the Internet of post PC devices— an essential ingredient to put stuff together. And as bonus, unlike Linux which puttered away quietly in the background doing the heavy lifting for services like Amazon and Google, Android was largely user-facing and would also therefore benefit from massive platform scale (and the resulting de-facto standard it would create) the way no piece of software since Microsoft Windows had.

Comments on blogs: emacs vs. vi

Brent Simmons says the blog comments vs. no blog comments debate is like vi vs. emacs. Despite his great explanation, only a geek would get thiat argument. Me, I like vi and blog comments... but may be that's because I don't get many.

inessential.com: Comments on blogs: I see my blog that way: it’s one place on the web, the place where I write. It’s one leaf on a tree. It doesn’t have to contain everything. These days there are so many ways and places to comment — so many other tools — that including comments here would be Emacs-like.

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