There are currently three separate open source implementations of extensible and lightweight Java platforms for the hosting, serving and aggregation of Open Social Gadgets and services. These platforms are the engines for internet and intranet portals and form the building blocks to provide context-aware personalization and collaboration features. Each of these three implementations has its strengths and weaknesses.
At ApacheCon 2010 Ate Douma and I discussed the possibility of bringing these engines together under a unified project banner. Taking the best from each and producing a single engine that all parties could work together on. This was never going to be easy, but we felt the effort would be worth it.
Yesterday Ate, after a great deal of hard work, posted the Rave Proposal to the Apache Incubator. This proposal is a joint effort between:
- Hippo – Netherlands, CMS provider
- MITRE Corporation – US, manages federally funded research and develelopment centres
- Open Gateway Computing Environments project – NSF-funded collaboration between Indiana University, San Diego University, San Diego Supercomputer Center and Texas Advances Computing Center
- SURFnet SURFConext Portal project – Netherlands, next generation collaboration infrastructure
- OSS Watch – UK, Open Source Software advisory service
- and several other individuals.
We are starting with three code bases from MITRE, SURFnet and OGCE and aim to have a single product within six months. This prevents the unnecessary duplication of effort across each of these organisations and ensures a viable shared infrastrcuture product for each participant.
In addition to these initial codebases the project plans to utilise code from Apache Wookie (Incubating). Some time ago OSS Watch helped the University of Bolton take their implementation of the W3C Widget specfication into the Apache Incubator. In the Incubator the project is able to focus on building community around its code and prove to the world that it is a viable open source project upon which people can build real systems. It’s been slow going for Wookie, the original Bolton team are ploughing forwards and have generated plenty of funding revenue from the project, but there still is no vibrant community around Wookie. This is due in part to the fact that the W3C Widget standards it implements are still not recomendations, but the project continues to develop and attract interest.
At OSS Watch we are really excited about this proposal. Not only will it provide signficant opportunity for the Wookie team to make their code more accessible for new use cases but it also brings together a signficant number of commercial and academic interests from across Europe and the US. The outputs of this project will be of significant value to our sector as we seek to produce userc configurable and context aware interfaces to new systems.