Dave Johnson on open web technologies, social software and software development
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.
I've been busy as can be, working on launching a new project at work, lots of presentations and not enough code. March seems to have snuck up behind me, spun me around and punched me right in the stomach. Not good. I need more time. Slides for my Advanced Roller talk are due today, ApacheCon EU is a little over a month away and JavaOne is right around the corner (more about that later). That's enough whining. Now, it's my duty to remind you that there's still plenty of time to register for ApacheCon EU in beautiful city of Amsterdam, so here goes:
And in other news, the ApacheCon US 2008 Call For Papers is now open. This year ApacheCon US will be November 3-7 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
I mentioned the Social Software for Glassfish (SSG) EA2 release before the winter break, but I never got around to posting any details. Since then some documentation has appeared, Manveen Kaur blogged it, The Aquarium too and now screen-cast master Arun Gupta has created an excellent Social Software for Glassfish screencast that walks you through the features in this very early access release. Now I don't have to say nearly as much.
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.
Another thing I worked on over the winter break was an all-Dave feed, a single page and feed that combines all of the various things that I post to the web: blog entries, Flickr photos, del.icio.us links and Twitter activity. So far, this is what I've got: http://rollerweblogger.org/roller/page/feeds.
I have just one item for Roller Strong today: the post below from James Snell of IBM, which lists some pretty impressive stats for IBM's internal blogging system. James doesn't mention it in the post, but I've been told that the site is powered by Apache Roller v3.1.
Growth: Quick note: IBM's internal blogging environment currently has 95k+ entries, 94k+ comments, 41k+ registered users, 11k+ Blogs (about 13% of which are considered active), 20k+ distinct tags, and 6k+ ratings on entries (entry rating has only been around since June of 2007). On average, there are just under 150 new entries posted to about 115 blogs per day. The number of comments per day fluctuate between 80-230 per day. A range of between 200-400 tags are used each day. Update: in the first three days of January, the server access logs show 109,439 unique visitors, 3,265,739 hits, and 61.37 GB of data transferred.
And that's internal boggers only. Just think what they could do with an external blog site. Roller works well outside the firewall too.
Over the holidays I avoided doing anything directly related to my current set of work tasks. Sun went quiet, which helped, and I ignored the messages that piled-up in the Roller user and dev lists. It was so quiet that I had time for a fun little project: a JMaki plugin for Roller.
<html> <head><title>JMaki test page</title></head> <body> <h1>JMaki test: dojo.clock</h1> $jmaki.addWidget("dojo.clock") <h1>JMaki test: yahoo.dataTable</h1> $jmaki.addWidget("yahoo.dataTable", "/roller/xhp?id=rss","","") </body> </html>
And here's what that page looks like when displayed by Roller:
I'll write more about the plugin once I install it on this site. If you want some details about how the plugin was developed, you can read the email that I sent to the JMaki dev list: JMaki for Roller issues and suggestions. It links to the Java source code for the plugin.
I'm supposed to be on vacation today and I'm doing my best, but I just wanted to point out that something interesting has quietly appeared in the Glassfish Update Center. Why so quiet? Well, it's an EA2 release and the emphasis is definitely on the E. I'll post some more details later, perhaps after winter break. I've still got shopping to do now and I'm supposed to be on vacation.
Interested? If you haven't done so already grab yourself a copy of the new Glassfish V2 UR1 release. Run the updatetool and install the latest EA2 release of Social Software for GlassFish.
See also: Something fishy.
I'm always happy to see Roller used in new sites, projects and products. Here's an interesting new example that I've been meaning to blog for a while now. Phillip Rhodes is working on building what he calls OpenQabal a "social software operating system." The project integrates a set of social software applications, including Roller and JavaBB, via Single Sign-On (SSO), a common look-and-feel and Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities (SIOC). He explains it all in an lengthy and informative blog post on the project's JRoller.com blog.
I'd never heard of SIOC before. Here's the executive summary:
Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities SIOC or is a framework aimed at connecting online community sites and internet-based discussions. Currently, online communities (boards, blogs, etc.) are like islands - they contain valuable information but are not well connected. SIOC allows us to interlink these sites, and enables the extraction of richer information from various discussion services.
Sounds like it could be pretty darn useful. But then again, I spent a little time exploring the list of SIOC enabled sites with the SIOC Firefox plugin and didn't really find any examples of interlinked communities or conversations. Am I missing something?
We've got the votes to release our tenth release candidate as Apache Roller 4.0. I'll make formal announcements after I've put files in place and updated the various release and docs pages.
One of my five ApacheCon EU 2008 proposals was accepted. I submitted a couple of proposals for customizing Roller, one for advanced Roller and one on RSS/Atom. The advanced Roller talk was accepted. Here's the abstract:
Apache Roller is a popular open source blog server designed to serve the needs of large multi-user blogging sites and typically used by large corporations, universities and government organizations. This session for managers, sysadmins and developers will goes beyond the Roller installation guide and explores the advanced issues of planning and executing a Roller deployment, including deployment architecture and configuration options as well as options for customization and automation.
I've got a couple of Roller related items to blog about, so why not just call it Roller Strong #11.
First, Lars Trieloff responds to some of the questions I raised about JCR and Roller in my ApacheCon wrap-up post. I left a comment on his blog in response. Personally, I think a JCR back-end is a very interesting idea and I wish I had some more time to explore it.
Manchi Leung AKA Thinkboy posted the code for a new Textile plugin to the Roller dev list, using Textile-J. Thinkboy says "it supports almost all of the Textile syntax. very much the same as Confluence wiki. Now I can easily sync or copy working notes from Confluence wiki to my personal Roller blog." Nice. Note to self: I need to fix up some of our existing entry plugins -- I think some of them (e.g. Ekit) still haven't been updated for Roller 3.1.
Arun Gupta blogged recently about Backing up your Roller entries and explained how to use the Grabber example (now known as BlogBackup in Blogapps 2) from the Blogapps project to backup your Roller blog. Backing-up your entries, but backing up your uploads is not. Hopefully, blogs.sun,com will turn on Atom protocol someday and that'll will make it easy for a tool like Grabber backup both entries and uploads.
We're still waiting on Roller 4.0, but I sense our wait is soon over. Roller 4.0 RC10 was released one week ago with just a couple of bug fixes. And so far, no critical issues have been found. We've got only one +1 vote (thanks Anil!) so far so committers please test and vote.
And finally, I have to mention MarkMail because I've been using it throughout this blog post. MarkMail provides a slick interface and excellent facilities for mailing lists of all kinds. They're indexing all of the Apache mailing lists and providing statis and charts for each. Check the Roller page at MarkMail for example.
That's all I've got for this go-round. Keep on rollin'
Matt had to make a couple of tweaks to get thing going with Roller 4.0 RC8 and a couple other problems have been found, so you can expect RC9 shortly.