The Apache Rave project graduated from the Incubator last month. This means that the Rave project has demonstrated to be a viable project community, which is being governed well according to the meritocratic principles of the Apache Software Foundation.
Apache Rave provides a next-generation portal engine, supporting (Open)Social Gadgets as well as WC3 widgets. Have a go with the latest release and you will see that it works out-of-the-box, but it can alternatively serve as the basis for an enterprise-level social portal application.
The way Rave came about and is still moving forward is a clear demonstration of open innovation in software. The project originated from a collaboration of partners that donated the software they have been developing independently, because they recognised that there was so much overlap in their projects, that collaborating on a shared codebase would generate more benefits than the effort that they would need to put in. And as such, Rave was built on the software code from MITRE Corporation, Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute and SURFnet, all of which had donated their sources to the Apache Software Foundation. A major catalyst for bringing these partners together was the open-source CMS vendor Hippo and their chief architect Ate Douma who championed the project.
So here you have three projects that have put in several person-years to build a portal, and all of their code is now merged and available for everyone. Bringing all of the code together has been a huge task, and the current state of Rave is not a fully mature product yet, but it’s a viable basis for all to build on and is now working towards a 1.0 version. Participants come from different sectors and use the application in different contexts. Hippo may want to base their future CMS products on it, while Indiana University may want to use it for their Science Gateway portal application. The recognition that you can build on the underlying platform because your use cases are very similar on that level, enables all partners to save significantly on software development costs. Everyone benefits from the contribution that each partner makes.
As OSS Watch, we are working with other projects and new initiatives in the academic sector in the UK to help the sector here benefit from this approach and engage them onto the Rave platform. For example, the Bamboo project aims to develop a Virtual Research Environment for humanities scholars using an OpenSocial portal. They are already working with SURF, but we are now working with the project team in Oxford to see if they can build on the Apache Rave project. Some contributors from the Apache Wookie (Incubating) project came along and added support for W3C widgets and they are now using Rave for their European OMELETTE project. As Scott Wilson and Claudia Villalonga showed at the Open Source Junction workshop last month, building on a stack of open source projects enabled them to focus effort on new challenges in the project, rather than reinventing the wheel.
I use the slide above in some presentations because it truly shows open innovation in action because of the many projects and diverse range of collaborators that make up the Rave ecosystem. It is always work in progress and new collaborators are welcome at any time. So read more about the Rave project, try it out and subscribe to the user or developer mailing list. The community would love to hear from you!