Locating the Friends Apartment

I was watching Friends for the umpteenth time. Whenever they showed the apartment, I used to wonder if it still exists and if so what it looks like. So here I was Googling for 'Bedford Street' (I had seen it in one of the shots of the apartment) and then looking around in Google Maps.

After a bit of searching, and using the wonderful 'Street view' in Google maps, I located it!

Friends Aptmt on Google Maps

Here is the link.

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Site specific browsers or desktop enabling web applications

The concept of site specific browsers has been around for quite some time now. While on one side, people are moving desktop application functionality to the web so as to take advantage of the features that the WWW provides, there is another group trying to bring closer integration of web applications with the desktop.

This is expected until we reach a point where there is seamless integration of the Internet and the WWW with the gadgets (laptops, cell-phones, etc) that we use everyday and it is difficult to define what a client is and what a server is!

So what does site specific browser mean?
Well, at the simplest, it means running your web application in its own separate process. However as this concept evolves, this will be more interesting. Imagine having a separate process run your favorite web application with look and feel (using UserStyles) and functionality (using Greasemonkey) tweaked according to your needs. I am not sure how this is going to look, but I am imagining some support for tweaking a web application being built into the webapp – showing both properties that the web application developer has provided (ex: offlining with Google Gears) and properties that are customizable using tools like Userstyles and Greasemonkey. Also expect better support for mashupability and better integration with other desktop applications and processes.

So what applications/runtimes do we have as of today?
Mozilla is working on WebRunner. Meanwhile, Adobe has been betting huge on AIR. At this stage, it looks like WebRunner is doing a better job primarily because WebRunner is from Mozilla and is open-source, so you can expect features like extensibility and being based on open formats, while AIR is based on a proprietary runtime. Can you expect extensibility and customization of AIR based applications? Well, it is a bit too early to be comparing technologies when the idea is still new.

I feel the primary value add in site specific browsers is in the customization of the application and the increase in usability when compared to running it in a browser.

On a separate note, this reminds me of the blog entry that I made about the death of browsers or about desktop enabling web applications back in 2005!

Eclifox – the publicity

Wow! Never imagined this would happen so soon.

Oct 16th:
Eclifox is currently in the front-page of ZDNet Japan.

The number of Google results for 'eclifox' is 12,200. Before Eclifox was released it was around 10.

There have been some good reviews and a lot of references to Eclifox in general.

Thanks to all those who have shown interest.

Oct 17th:
1:00 pm IST – 50,800
6:10 pm IST – 223,000

Oct 19th:
Eclifox in the Java Posse podcast.

Nov 28th:
Now that it is out of most feeds, the number of results is hovering around 700.

Eclipse workshop in IIIT Bangalore

So here I was conducting yet another workshop on Eclipse. This time it was in IIIT Bangalore.

The campus is great, so are the students. It was the most interactive session I have ever been to. The students were quite active throughout the day and all of us were filled with enthusiasm until the very end.

The workshop began at 9:30 am with Sudar Oli giving the kick off speech on IBM University Relation activities. This was followed by 2 theory sessions, followed by a hands-on session. The workshop lasted till 8 pm and I hear this is quite normal for guest lectures in IIIT!

Eclifox – bringing Eclipse to the browser

We finally made it! Eclifox is now an Alphaworks technology.

So what is Eclifox?
In order to understand what Eclifox is, look at the screenshot below:

Eclifox

What do you see?

If you think that this is the screenshot of the Eclipse IDE, you are only partially right. Look again. It is Eclipse running in the Firefox browser!

Here is a flash demo of Eclifox. (Run it in full-screen). The demo shows the usage of Python and Ruby plugins from Eclifox.

A bit of history:
About a year and a half back I came up with a thought. How would it be if we were able to provide web based access to Eclipse functionality? Initially it was not clear how we could achieve this, but the idea seemed promising. So we thought we would give it a try by giving this of to a bunch of interns.

In came a group of 6 students who not only had the passion to complete this, but also the zeal to learn the technology required to make it work.

Hats off to the following interns who made it a reality:

  • Adarsh Ramamurthy
  • Karthik Ananth
  • Mohd Amjed Chand
  • Prasanna V. Pandit
  • Srirang G. Doddihal
  • Vikas Patil

The above interns from SJCE put their heart and soul to this effort and developed the whole thing in less than 4 months time. Personally, I enjoyed the 6 months time I spent on guiding these students. We have a stunned a lot of people within IBM with this idea. No one expected an internship project to get so much praise (or even criticism!).

Eclifox-debugging

Thanks to Kiran who provided guidance throughout the course of this project. Also for spending umpteen hours in getting this on alphaWorks! Also thanks to several people who provided the support when it was required.

And now about the technologies used:
The basic idea is to include a plug-in in Eclipse that helps us interact with Eclipse to fetch UI definitions and also to simulate events on Eclipse. The technologies used are primarily Javascript (with XMLHttp) on the client side and Jetty as the server embedded in Eclipse. For more information read the alphaWorks page.

So try it out and let us know what you feel!

ApacheCon US 2007 / OS Summit Asia 2007

Two of my colleagues and friends Vamsi & Shiva, who are committers on Apache Geronimo will be conducting training sessions at ApacheCon US 2007 / OS Summit Asia 2007.

Java EE 5 App Development on Geronimo 2.0 simplified using Eclipse by Shiva Kumar
Attendees will learn how to develop, deploy, test and debug Java EE 5.0 applications on Apache Geronimo using Eclipse and WTP (Web Tools Platform). They will have hands-on lab exercises on (and hence be masterful at):

  1. Setting up the Eclipse IDE for Java EE 5.0 App Development on Geronimo v2.0, including starting/stopping of Geronimo server from within Eclipse.
  2. Developing a simple Java EE 5.0 application from scratch (consisting of a few JSPs, Servlets, Session Beans and JPA Entity Beans), and deploying and testing it on the Geronimo server.
  3. Adding MDBs and WebServices into the above application using Eclipse WTP v2.0 tools.
  4. Debugging Java EE applications using Eclipse.

Attendees will also compare their newly developed Java EE 5.0 application with an equivalent J2EE application, and left appreciative of some of the newest features brought by Java EE 5 (like Annotations) that greatly simplify enterprise application development.

ApacheCon link
OSSummit link

Securing Java EE Applications in Apache Geronimo by Vamsavardhana Reddy
The attendees will learn about the prerequisites for various security realms provided by Geronimo, the choice of data stores (Simple Text Files, LDAP, Database, Digital Certificates) they have for user credentials, how to create security realms to authenticate users using the data in these data stores, configure Web/EJB/EAR application security and enable advanced features like Principal wrapping, Single-Sign-On, Auditing and Lockout. After completing the training, the users will be in a position to decide what best suits their development/deployment needs, create security realms and create necessary deployment plans to secure their applications using the realms.

ApacheCon link
OSSummit link

Hurry up and register soon. There is a discount on the registration fee if you register before 22nd October 2007.