Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On Google (and) Maps

Google always leave us with little room to wonder why it is so much loved by developers like me. At the moment at least, I guess the model of success for a software company is so much an anti-theses of Gates' original position on evolving software with retail economics in his famous 1981 letter.

Google changed that. So, now we have a company that buys expensive software "by the company" and releases its intellectual property to the public to use, for free. Man, it feels like the scene from Last Samurai where Emperor Meiji, maddened with Omura's monopolising ways, confisticate his estates and fortunes and gives it to the people. Except this time, Omura is obliging.

Liberty, at last, sweet liberty. I got a taste when I was tasked to map offices for presentment in CDs, websites etc. This could be an irritable task, drawing maps, directions, adding on changes (graphically by the layers, if you know what I mean). All sorts of unelegant mouse manipulation involved.. With Google Maps API, heh, we have Semantics and as such, we get closer to reality and thus easier representation. Task completed, with code, not pixels,
less memory used, less time used, more flexibility, the list goes on. Getting it right is always good, or so it seems at least to me.

Here, we see how the creative gale of destruction that is Google gets cracking. Now, we only need a:

var currentVehicleLoc = new GMarker(new GLatLng($lat, $long));

to indicate a position in a clouded map. Imagine what this can do. I think the benefits of proprietary GPS locationing systems gets immediately obsoleted. Here, we have a simpler way of locationing in a common sharable, secure-able realm that is better than the raster or what-not proprietary systems of thousands of Omura-like companies, now gone to waste. Art is futile.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Open source Openspace

Openspace had finally reached a stage of maturity to be released as some sort of alpha-release open source. Justifications:

  1. It had been used as the operating framework for up to 5 major projects to-date.
  2. It had also proven its use in the fast creation of various widgets and tools. (The To-Do list seems like a popular choice)
  3. A pool of developers had emerged to pick it up quite easily and quickly
  4. At least a team of developers within a company with established commercial projects using Openspace had committed to open source contribution

Once the code had been cleaned-up, expect it to be available on Google Projects via SVN. Since this is starting up, we would welcome all forms of participatory help in coding, design and etc. The next stage of development involves things like genericisation (especially DB) and more semantics / ontological features. Would certainly not like to reinvent the wheel, will be glad to merge or join any other project teams if we're heading towards the same direction. Do drop me a mail too for such.