Gadgets and Mashups in the Live platform

November 18, 2007

Microsoft has traditionally been a leader in desktop development. By the explosion of web 2.0, the company is trying to cope with the overwhelming quantity of web development environments that start to appear everywhere…

One of the first attempts of Microsoft to insert itself into the web 2.0 ring was the MSN Messenger application, which was quickly converted from a web/client-server architecture to a web services/rss/xml app, without harm to the users and becoming one of the fastest growing applications in history.

But it was not enough, full-web applications designed for the web 2.0 took over and concurrently, became part of the default user portfolio.

Microsoft continues doing efforts to overcome the plethora of initiatives that sudden multiple new competitors (or collaborators?) start to put on the Internet specifically in the layer of small web applications – or gadgets – launched the site, which allowed the users to include their developments in a “gallery” where other users could put on the Internet the gadgets they developed in order to build “custom” sites.

Later, Microsoft launched “Spaces”, another web site, oriented to a more “personal sharing” audience, where people could start a blog, a photo sharing space and could as well include the gadgets they chose from the gallery.

The development process, however was still some “geeky” secret which was publicly available to MSDN participants (MSDN is Microsoft’s developer community, which offers general freely advice on Microsoft development and, by a paid subscription some additional support and tools).

Recently, as a new effort in trying to help people develop for the web 2.0 before they go with the competitors, Microsoft put specific help to develop gadgets in the developer center for the gadgets gallery, and enabled the development of other type of gadgets, now for the “Sidebar”, a side application for Windows Vista, emoticons and winks for Messenger, toolbar buttons, and the SideShow (a small screen included in newer laptops that enables quick information browsing in Windows Vista even when the computer is turned off)

For the next step: mashups, Microsoft has developed a new web site, called Popfly, it is kind of a new portal, which integrates a lot of new technlogies, including Silverlight, to enable the users to quickly develop mashups by including very easily code pieces and information developed by others and published in Popfly… more information about Popfly to come…


Gadgets and the web 2.0

November 18, 2007

The competition for gaining the preference of the users in web 2.0 tools gets even more serious when it comes to development.

While the text and media items are shared with increasingly easiness, the war is moving to a new terrain: development. As the web 2.0 keeps growing, for users, text, image and audiovisual content is not enough… they now want to share intelligence, expressed now in the way of code parts, called by some gadgets, by other widgets and at least half a dozen more names.

We’re exploring now the “???gets” world: small pieces of code that can be shared on the Internet so other users can put them in their pages for personal and/or public use… and here we’ll have to fight face to face to our low experience in software development which, so far seems to be a must if you want to share code.

We’ll be exploring how to do gadgets… or widgets… or however you want to call them in different platforms, we chose 4 platforms that are in our criteria the most common so we can find out how to do it… we already discarded Opera as the gadgets they offer (apparently very easy to build) are very restricted to the Opera browser.

Keep tuned! We’ll share our thoughts on these and other topics next!


New contents from our feed

November 10, 2007

Listen and watch our new media contents from the special feed:

  • RSS introduction according to Wikipedia (audio only).
  • Screencast of how to publish a podcast.
  • Video on our work about RSS.


A new song (spanish)

November 5, 2007

We wanted to share a song from a well known artist: Juanes. Enjoy it subscribing to our RSS channel!!

Reasons for feeds

November 4, 2007

When you become a massive user of the web, there are surely a lot of sites that you visit frequently. And in most cases, it is worthy only if the site has been updated since your last visit. So, let’s reverse the situation: wouldn’t it be a lot easier if the information came to you every time it is generated?

This is the point of feeds. We are to be studying them from now on and you’ll be able to see some examples in this blog. The first one is in our ‘RSS Channel page‘, and soon we’ll post more about it.

Stay tuned! 😉

Some statistics

October 31, 2007

The first part of our work on this blog has come to an end. During these weeks we have researched a lot about several topics related to Web 2.0. Some of our research has gone live in the form of published posts and some others have simply remained in our memory. With they all we have learned a great deal, sometimes even opened our mind. Not to mention what we could call the ‘active’ part – not only reading, but also managing, keeping the accessibility and contributing to our own blog, as well as commenting on our classmates’ one. Most of us hadn’t written on a blog before and it’s meant a new experience.

Looking back to the work we’ve done, these are the statistics for each of us:

READING 0.25 0.30 0.5 0.3
THINKING 0.25 0.30 0.15 0.15

So that makes these global figures:


Group statistics

We hope that our writings are interesting for you, who are reading this blog. Don’t forget to leave your comment! 😉

More about Web 2.0 Conservation

October 22, 2007

In my last post I talked about the aspects and the issues that arise in the preservation of Web 2.0 content. Now I want just to point out how are this preservation issues outstanding for some components of Web 2.0:

Blogs: are one of most common piece associated with the new version of the web. The conversational content of many of them can sometimes be identified as non-valuable; that is not worthy to bother with archiving its content. For the rest, however, the short update cycle (the speed at which new content is added), the numerous external references pose some of the difficulties I talked about. Then, what should be preserved from the blog other then the posts: the comments, the embedded resources? Someone noted that blogs tend to be rather individual rather than organizational, hence it’s rather difficult to archive them in a way the content is easy searchable and accessible.

Wikis: most of their content is what we called hidden web. The text and media content are stored in inaccessible databases, while the wiki experience is found as web metadata on the web server. However the inbuilt history function from most of them is an acceptable compromise for now.

Media sharing: the content is again hidden web and most of the streaming technologies used for live media are either proprietary or use Digital Rights Management to hinder any attempt of downloading the content.

Data mash-ups: assemble live content from various web sites that publish their APIs. Therefore, most of the content is also hidden web and therefore not readily accessible. Since the look & feel is part of experience, the overall preservation is even more difficult to accomplish.

Social networks: contain their users’ personal space. Though some may involve some look & feel elements which are part of the experience, this is not always the case. However, most contain private information of their users so major obstacle lies within the privacy an intellectual property.