Archive for May, 2008

Continuing

May 30th, 2008 | Category: Uncategorized

Google AJAX API (GWT and such and such)

As was to be expected, Google kept on promoting its AJAX API. GWT was the big star here, which as you may know features a Java to Javascript “compiler”. I’m not really into GUI development (I like to mess with the business and data tiers instead) but I’m a big AJAX fan nonetheless (for one thing, it’s not flash =P). Still, GWT seems to me a bit limited. It’s code generation is neat, but as I see it, you can’t do AJAX if you don’t do AJAX, that is, if you don’t handle de requests by yourself. I still can’t find an AJAX API that I am satisfied with. Maybe I’m just to picky, I don’t know. Ok, so that was my excuse not to enter the AJAX conferences.

Android

Ah, Android, I know thee well. Since I have been messing around with the API since the SDK went prerelease, I tried to avoid the Android 101 talks. In the introductory talk, they showed what Android was capable of. In very short words, Android is Google’s iPhone. Sure, it’s (or will be) open source and more of a defined stack and standard to be followed but Apple’s influence is really there. One thing that provoked ‘Ohhhs and Aaaahs’ is when they accessed a San Francisco street in Street View and panned through it by actually panning the device (as if the device was a window to the street). This is very showy for sure, but as tech critic I must say that it is not that hard to do. I mean, it’s been a while since accelerometers got their own software abstraction and became easy to use, so the real technical achievment there is Street View, which is not Android’s. Of course, since most of the guys at the conference are web devs, so they may not know that (please don’t get mad at me =P).┬á The interesting stuff came when they talked about the DalvikVM which modifies java’s bytecode so that it becomes more efficient in both CPU and memory consumption at certain times (I just loved to see mmap and malloc mentioned, it was refreshing =). Some things may be tweaked before version 1.0 and you can see that the team is still making some crucial decisions. So Android’s still in Zygote stage (pun intended), I’ll just wait for its birth =)

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So, what’s it all about?

May 29th, 2008 | Category: Computers & 570x0FF

Here are the main things that Google is presenting here:

Google Gears

Gears is all about extending the browser by using more client side capabilities. It gives developers an API that let’s them do neat desktop-like things in a web app running on a gears-eneabled browser. Examples of this behaviour would be preserving state asynchronously in the client and showing desktop notifications. Gears is Google’s response to the browser jail problem. However, it is not directly an adobe air competitor since the offline side is not really their goal. They are trying to get gears into the HTML5 standard.

Google App Engine

Some while ago, Amazon decided to share its amazing infrastructure with AWS. Following those steps, Google now shares its computing cloud through the Google App Engine. In simple words, the app engine lets you host your application in Google’s servers, using their incredibly fast load balancing algorithms. They provide a simple API that is based on the concepts of easy-to-deploy and easy-to-scale (as in scaling to millions and millions of table row data). This API si made available via python, and frameworks like Django “kind of” work with it. The problem with most of the frameworks is that they need a relational database to work on, and while app engine does provide an interface that mimics this, it is severely limited in that respect. The reason for this is efficiency. Because you need to locate the data in a server, seek it in the disk, and finally bring it home, app engine has to have a schema-less datastore. This makes the Django admin, Django’s killer feature, totally useless. Perhaps a Django port is in order?

Google Maps

Maps has always been the part of Google that amazes me the most. This time, the Maps team announced a plugin for the browser and a javascript API that allows developers to use client-side map goodies. The plugin works so well that a demo was showed portraying a 3D map in first person perspective and model of a milk delivery car. The car is actually a kml file and it could be controlled just like a car in a videogame. The impressive part is that all this is done via javascript, the matrix transformations (rotations, translations), multipliers, etc. Quite frankly, I have underestimated javascript. A thing that’s also cool is their support for WFS and WMS and remote loading of maps.

Next post I will give you news of their AJAX API and Android.

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Google I/O starts!

May 28th, 2008 | Category: Uncategorized

Yesterday, I arrived at San Francisco and stayed in probably the worst hotel in the downtown area. The room was fine and clean, but the whole building was falling apart and patched all over. It reminded me of the dark corners of the urban underworld that are portrayed in The Matrix. Also, it smelled. Real bad. Ok it reeked of moisture and rotten wood. Anyway, today I got up early and changed to the Pickwick Hotel (not too much of an improvement, but you’ve got to know that SFO isn’t a cheap place to stay).

8 am arrived and the guys at the Mascone Conference Center finally let us in. While in line, I came to the conclusion that I had lost my registration code. But no problem, there’s free wireless access! So I had to do the line two times, and in the second try I overheard two guys talking about IDEs. One of them was a Microsoft advocate and used Visual Studio. The other one used vim. Since it was too much of a temptation to resist, I decided to barge in the conversation with an “o yea! vim rocks!”. The registration process was painless and free t-shirts were given to everone.

Later on, breakfast. A fast bagel with jam and some fruit (green melon FTW!). Right now, a cherry juice and off to the inaugural conference.

I will be posting here as the whole thing develops so check in often!

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