Dave Johnson on open web technologies, social software and Java
I'm going to break blog silence now to tell you about Apache Roller and Google Summer of Code 2011, which just wrapped up about a week ago.
This year we were very fortunate to get a another highly motivated and smart student, Shelan Perera, and an good proposal as well: Mobile-enabled Templates. Over the summer Shelan designed and implemented a new feature for the Roller blog server, one that enables theme authors to provide an alternative "mobile" template for each page template in a Roller blog theme. You can see a screenshot of the new Edit Template page in Shelan's blog How to change template codes in Roller.
Now, when a page request comes into Roller, Shelan's code determines if it's from a mobile device and, if it is, switches to a mobile template, if one is available. There's also an easy way for template authors to create a button to allow users to switch to the "Standard" site instead of the mobile version. The screenshot on the right, of Roller with a mobile theme comes from Shelan's most recent blog.
It was an honor to act as mentor for this project, and fun talking to Shelan via Skype most Fridays. I'm looking forward to getting this on my blog, and getting this cool new feature into an Apache Roller 5.1 release sometime soon. Thanks, Shelan! And, thanks to Google for running the most excellent Summer of Code program.
Here's some more happy Roller news. Apache Roller 5.0 has been released!
The major new feature in Roller 5.0 is Media Blogging, a set of enhancements to Roller's file upload and management capabilities. Also included in 5.0 are simple multi-site support, OpenID and OAuth support for Roller's AtomPub interface. All major dependencies have been updated and Roller now uses Maven for build and dependency management. You can find a summary of Roller 5.0's new features on the Roller wiki.
The road to Roller 5.0 has been a long one and if you are interested the history, you might want to check Dave Johnson's What's New in Roller 5.0 presentation from ApacheCon US 2009. Roller 5.0 includes contributions from contributors from Google Summer of Code, San Jose State Univ. and the usual case of Roller committers. Thanks to all who contributed to Roller 5.0 over the years.
To download Apache Roller 5.0 and documentation, visit the Apache Roller download page at the Apache Software Foundation's website.
Congrats to Simon Phipps on what sounds like a great new job at ForgeRock and on his new column in ComputerWorld.UK.
One of the key benefits to customers of the source code becoming open source is that, in the event a product is discontinued by its owner, a group of people from the community can simply pick up the source code and keep on maintaining and improving it. That's a radical change from proprietary products, which can be killed stone dead with no appeal. With open source, the company may fold but the community carries on.
That's all fine in theory, but does it actually work? I intend to find out. Starting this week, I'm joining ForgeRock as chief strategy officer.
One year ago on this day I wrote that Sun Microsystems is willing to contribute Project SocialSite" to the Apache Software Foundation. My contacts at Sun told me it was OK to make that announcement because a VP approved. One year later, we have established Apache SocialSite (incubating) project, setup user accounts, put up a status page and setup source code control but we still have no code from Sun.
Since March 2009 I've been exchanging emails with my helpful contacts at Sun and trying to help them move forward with the contribution, but because of the ongoing Oracle/Sun merger things have moved incredibly slowly. Finally in late December 2009, my Sun contacts had permission to actually release the code to Apache, but there was a problem.
When Sun said that they were willing to contribute the SocialSite code to Apache, I figured that they would do so using the standard Software Grant agreement that was used for Roller and all other projects entering Apache via the Incubator. Unfortunately, the Sun lawyers did not want to use the standard Software Grant agreement and Apache did and does not want to devise a new legal agreement just to accommodate Sun. That's where we stand today. Sun committed to contributing SocialSite to Apache and now we're waiting for Oracle/Sun to follow through on that commitment.
Meanwhile, others have been making some progress with SocialSite. A major sports brand has launched a SocialSite based network with a million-plus users. A couple of developers have rewritten the build script to use Maven, others have "ported" to JBoss and there is still interest in and a need for what was Sun's Project SocialSite. Neither effort has contributed code back to SocialSite-proper and because of legal concerns are waiting for the main code to appear at Apache.
SocialSite is a small project and it will not survive for much longer with resources spread across multiple sites and a community working separately. So, I'm asking again and publicly: Oracle, please follow through on your commitment and grant the Project SocialSite codebase to Apache.
I blogged about Alfonso Romero's Apache Roller 4.0 Beginner's Guide book before. It's a great resource for folks who want to get the most out of their Apache Roller-based blogs, and not just beginners. As you can see in the photo on the right, I've got my copy. You can get yours directly from Pakt publishing:
To publicize the book, Pakt publishing has been publishing some useful excerpts and even a complete sample chapter online. Here's summary of the excerpts so far:
If you've been following Roller development you know that Roller 5.0 is on the way. Most of the changes in Roller 5.0 are "under the hood" so 5.0 won't make Alfonso's book obsolete. Except for a couple of pages in Chapter 5 "Spicing Up Your Blog" that need updated screenshots, I believe everything in the book applies to Roller 5.0 as well.
Crammed into one post...After a month of blog neglect, my automatic Latest Links from my Delicious.com account started to pile up. Back in the glory days of this blog, I blogged about things instead just saving links or tweeting about them. I realized that, by adding some commentary/opinion for each, I could turn a month's worth of links into a month's worth of blog posts and thus gain total absolution for my sin of going a full month without a post. So that's what I did. [Read More]
Nick Lothian on ROME dev:
I've gone and built some preview jars for the upcoming ROME 1.0RC2, ROME Fetcher 1.0RC2 and Modules 0.3 release.
Those jars can be found here: https://rome.dev.java.net/servlets/ProjectDoc...
I've created source and javadoc jars as well as the normal jars - the idea being that I'll get them uploaded to some maven repository.
If you have some spare time, please take a look at these and test them and let me know of any problems. Assuming there are no big issues found I'd like to do a proper release in a couple of days.
Guess that means I should test Propono with RC2.
Congratulations to the Apache Abdera team, who've just graduated to full Apache top level project status. The don't have the new site at abdera.apache.org up yet and they're still not quite at 1.0 yet, but this is a major milestone. They've got the best Atom format and protocol toolkit around, in my opinion.
My talk went pretty well yesterday and I'm definitely enjoying both the conference, which is still in progress, and my stay in Copenhagen. I'll post more photos later, but for now here is a shot of the conference setup at ITU Copenhagen.
I'm happy to report that I'll be traveling to Copenhagen, Denmark to talk about Roller and Project SocialSite at the Open Source Days 2008 conference on Oct. 3-4 this year. I'm going to tell the story of Roller and lessons learned along the way and then talk about blogging in the age of social networks and how to social-enable Roller with the SocialSite widgets. The session is called titled The once and future Roller.
My teammates and I have started a new blog over at blogs.sun.com to cover Project SocialSite and to break the big news: we're open!
We are very pleased to announce that source code is now available for Project SocialSite (under a CDDL/GPL license) and the project is now operating as an open source project following the Glassfish governance policy. We're working in the open and welcome contributors of all stripes. Read more...
On balance, XWiki wins by virtue of having better support for management, searching, page taxonomies, virtual servers, content export and language translation/localization support.
JSPWiki has slightly better support for identifying orphaned pages and accesskey support (XWiki 1.4 will have support for access keys).
Confluence was not considered because requirement #0 is "the software must be free and open source," which seems like a reasonable request when selecting software for an open source community site.
It's time to catch up on blogging and I'm going to start by going through my backlog of links and adding some commentary, but not in this post; these are miscellaneous links that don't fit nicely into my other posts.
I asked for Google Summer of Code (GSOC) ideas for Roller a couple of days ago. Below are links to the proposals I thought were good enough to volunteer as possible mentor for and to submit. The deadline is tomorrow, so you've still got time to suggest additions to the list.
Here's the full list of Apache GSOC proposals.
Insightful and fun post from Apache board member Henri Yandell. Worth a read for folks trying to grow an open source community of contributors.
Henry Yandel: I continue to grapple with the concept of how to treat users of Open Source projects. Should you be cruel, or kind?
It sounds like a dumb question - rude hackers who rip users apart for daring to ask a question in a not perfect way are just arseholes who need to get off their high horse. Right?
Iâ€™m not convinced. And Iâ€™m someone who usually over worries about being polite. Mostly because the voice inside my head is, I suspect, the kind of stormtrooper who after the Death Star blows up for the second time, will be found out of uniform at the Rebel party selling little burgers of â€˜forest meat - mind the blaster marks on the furâ€™. Read more...
SpringSource, the company behind the Spring Framework, has purchased Covalent, a company that provides support for Apache projects. This popped up on my radar because Covalent offers support contracts for Roller and in fact, SpringSource CEO Rod Johnson mentioned Roller specifically when talking about the deal (emphasis mine):
Rod Johnson: "We want to support the open source software that people want to use," including the Geronimo application server, the Axis Web Services Framework from Apache, and the Apache Roller Blog multi-user blogging software."
Sounds like a good thing and hopefully it will improve the support story for all Apache products. In fact, it could be a really good thing for Apache projects because Rod's philosophy is that you can't support software unless you are one of the software's creators.
Rod Johnson: "You can't divorce the process of maintaining software from the process of creating software...That's not the future of enterprise open source - unless open source has no future"
Based on that, we can assume that SpringSource will now be paying committers to do creative work on Roller and other Apache projects so that they can provide the best maintenance and support of those same projects. Right? Maybe I'm too naive -- after all, I figured having Roller in Lotus Connections meant IBM would be contributing.