Embedded Experiences Are Coming to the Browser

One of the most interesting and valuable developments in enterprise social software (ESS) over the last few years has been the introduction of embedded experiences. Simply put, these are event-driven notifications, usually from other enterprise applications and systems, that surface within the activity stream of an ESS application. Embedded experiences go beyond merely notifying of something important; they also allow one or more actions to be taken to move a business process to the next step.
chatter notification vacation approval
Embedded experiences are great, but they have been written in proprietary code tied to a specific ESS vendor’s offering. It has not been possible to reuse actionable notifications across vendors’ solutions.
Google has announced a new feature in the latest beta version of its Chrome browser that will provide an open standard alternative for the delivery of extended experiences. Chrome 48 Beta enables developers to quickly create notifications with buttons that let users complete tasks. Those notification can be pushed from browser-based applications and webpages, as well as from Chrome OS applications and extensions to the Chrome browser.
Google and Mozilla employees have contributed to the development of the fledgling Notifications API standard under the auspices of the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) community. This specification is what has been implemented in Google’s Chrome 48 Beta.
A Notification Generator built to define HTML-based embedded experiences has been created by Peter Beverloo. The generator shows how easy it is to define an embedded experience that can appear in any HTML5-compliant web browser.

Notification GeneratorSource: http://tests.peter.sh/notification-generator/#actions=1;;requireInteraction=true

As previously noted, embedded experiences have been proprietary to individual vendor’s applications and platforms. Google’s beta implementation of the WHATWG’s Notifications API specification is a first important step toward embedded experiences that will work across operating systems and applications. When the feature is properly vetted and becomes part of the stable release of Chrome (and, we assume, Mozilla’s Firefox browser), open, actionable notifications will be reality.
This is important because it will make the development and use of embedded experiences far more practical and widespread. Enterprise software vendors who choose to implement the WHATWG’s Notifications API specification will empower their customers to more easily create interoperability with other vendors’ browser-based tools. Actionable data embedded in notifications will be able to be passed between systems, business process execution will be accelerated, and personal productivity will be increased.
This news further intensifies the browser-based versus operating system-dependent application debate, especially with regards to mobile computing. The current preference for native applications on mobile devices will be challenge to the uptake of the Notifications API specification, given its dependence on the Web browser. Development of more of these types of Web standards is precisely what is needed to swing the pendulum back toward browser-based applications.

Rocket caught copying Fab code in Nigerian push

The fact that Germany’s Rocket Internet is launching another clone should come as a surprise to no-one. But even with their copycat reputation, cutting and pasting code for their new Nigerian online store seems more than little bit lazy.

Facebook’s PHP Codebase: It’s Complex

Facebook today published an interesting visualization of just how complex its codebase is. Actually, the visualization is part of an application within the company, but it gets the point across: Making code changes is no small feat when every module is dependent on so many others.

5 Collaborative Code Sharing Tools

Sharing code can be one of the toughest parts of managing a big project: a lot of collaboration tools have a way to share written content and images but they don’t handle code particularly well. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.

Performing Live: London’s iPhone Orchestra

Photo by Flickr user Jinho.Jung

Photo by Flickr user Jinho.Jung

Over in London, the experimental electronic music scene is positively flourishing.

Having lived in the UK’s capital city for the latter part of 2008, I discovered a bubbling sonic subculture — a community of creatives hijacking ice cream vans, reappropriating medical EPGs, and hacking instruments out of scraps of junk, all for the purposes of audio experimentation.

Particularly interesting is that, among these esoteric technologies, the iPhone seemed to be emerging as a burgeoning platform for sonic exploration. Since leaving London and moving to Helsinki, things have advanced even further as, in what is perhaps a world first, the iPhone orchestra (conducted via Wii controller, naturally) has been established.

The London Geek Community iPhone OSCestra’s inaugural performance was May 8 at Open Hack London, a one-day event supported by Yahoo! (s yhoo) that brought together ultra tech-savvy hackers for a day of coding and communicating. The orchestra, a crew of eight musicians, opened with an impressive (and deliciously geeky) performance of the “Doctor Who” theme. Read More about Performing Live: London’s iPhone Orchestra

Lots of New Apple Hardware Hinted at in iPhone 3.0 Code

ipod-touch-2g-iphone-3g-comparison When it comes to speculation about hardware, I like going to the code. Code doesn’t have “sources,” questionable or otherwise, and if something turns up there, you can be relatively sure it isn’t a ploy to deceive you (unless we’re being subtly manipulated, but that’s a conspiracy theory for another time). The recent iPhone 3.0 beta release includes code references to five as-yet unreleased products, four of which were spotted by Stephen Troughton-Smith, the same developer who unleashed tethering while playing around with his iPhone’s carrier bundle file.
Troughton-Smith discovered references to an “iPod3,1,” “iPhone3,1,” “iFPGA,” and “iProd0,1,” all of which are new additions to a property list file that has previously been found to reference existing products (“iPhone1,1”, “iPhone1,2″,”iPod1,1″,”iPod2,1”) that use mobile OS X as their operating system. In addition, Boy Genius Report found another reference to “iPod2,2” which is confirmed by MacRumors. Back in January, we told you about another new product, “iPhone2,1” mentioned in the same reference file, and it is still present, even though we haven’t seen a hardware release to correspond with the reference. Read More about Lots of New Apple Hardware Hinted at in iPhone 3.0 Code

Setting Up Xcode & Beanstalk Hosted Subversion

If you are planning on getting started in developing for the Mac, one of the first things I recommend setting up is a version control system. Beanstalk is a hosted Subversion system, so you can access your code from anywhere you have an Internet connection, team up with partners across the world, and keep a safe copy of your code off site, just in case. It’s tempting to rely on Time Machine for the ability to roll back changes, but Subversion has some key differences that make it a clear winner in ease of use and features.

For one, you can host a Subversion repository anywhere, either locally on your own Mac, or on the Internet, or on your local private network. Second, Subversion is built to work with multiple users, and can handle conflicting commits to the repository. Finally, Subversion can integrated directly into Xcode, which is what we are going to look at here.
Read More about Setting Up Xcode & Beanstalk Hosted Subversion