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It's a party!!

To help kick off OSCONthe OpenSocial community is excited to host the first Apache Shindig / Apache Rave "beer forge"!  We've got space at The Spirit of 77 sports bar just a few blocks away from the OCC on Tuesday, July 17th for a chance for us to get together and have a few pints on OpenSocial! 

You'll have a chance to meet the leaders of our open source community that are working to move the social web forward through the Apache Shindig and Apache Rave projects. There will be plenty of opportunity to learn first hand how some of the industry's leading social platforms from IBM, Jive, Mitre and others are leveraging open source technologies in their products.

Plan to start off OSCON with the OpenSocial community and enjoy some good food & great beer as we celebrate another year of advancing the social web through open source!

Note: Make sure to RSVP so we can check you in at the event and have an accurate count of who's coming. Thanks!!
I'm excited to announce that this year's "State of the Union" event will be held on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at the Jive's offices in Portand Oregon. It lines up with OSCON, the premier conference for open source technologies. We'll have discounted passes for the conference, so be sure to check out the OSCON site for all the detailed information about that event. If you just want to grab some swag, we'll also have "Expo Only" tickets as well.
While past State of the Union events have been structured as a "mini conference", this year we've decided to take a different tact. The Foundation's primary goals are to enable our community in developing open standards and technology that advance the social Web and foster a vibrant, open ecosystem of social platforms and applications. This year's event will be a series of working sessions where we will focus on specific topics that, as a community, we need to address in the upcoming year. Each session will be moderated to keep us on track. The moderator will produce an "action plan" that we'll use to track our progress and measure our results.
Space is very limited, so please be courteous to your fellow "OpenSocialites" RSVP if you plan to attend in person and are ready to roll your sleeves up and pitch in.
For additional information visit the event page on the OpenSocial wiki or the eventbrite link below.

Happy Coding!
Mark Weitzel, President, OpenSocial Foundation

Today the Apache Software Foundation announces the Apache Rave project as new Top-Level Project.

Apache Rave is a new Open Source software mashup platform that allows developers to build and engage with an array of social network technologies such as OpenSocialW3C Widgets, and Activity Streams.

The project started only a year ago, March 1 2011, when entering the Apache Incubator as a collaborative effort by individuals from a wide range of corporations, non-commercial organizations, and institutes from around the world and was seeded by code donations from The MITRE Corporation, Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute, SURFnet, OSS Watch, Hippo, and numerous individual developers.

Rave builds on open standards and leverages and aligns with other open source projects like Apache Shindig and Apache Wookie to deliver a lightweight, flexible, widget-based platform that easily scales across federated application integrations, social intranets, and multi-channel social communities with enhanced personalization and customized content delivery.

Besides supporting the OpenSocial standard, Apache Rave generalized the concept of widgets to also, and transparently, support W3C Widgets. And through its open and pluggable API adding support for other widget containers and renderes can easily be added.

Members of the Apache Rave project are also active participants and contributors of the OpenSocial Foundation and the W3C organization, and directly involved in Apache Shindig, Wookie and many other related open source projects. Apache Rave is truly a community driven open source project and already is building up a lot of interest from commercial, non-commercial, governmental and individual developers across the globe. The ASF announcement references several high profile organizations using and contributing to Rave today, and of course the project is looking for more!

Please meet and join us at http://rave.apache.org

Posted on behalf of Ate Douma & the Apache Rave Team by Mark Weitzel, President, OpenSocial Foundation
On Tuesday, February 28, the OpenSocial community came together to officially kick off the next round of development on the specification. It was a long, but very productive day. You can read the minutes of the meeting on the wiki

I would like to thank all of those who travelled in from out of town to attend the meeting in person, as well as those that joined via video conference. Especially the folks from Europe that stayed late into their evening.  I would be remiss if I also did not thank Rajat Paharia from Bunchball for giving a great talk about gamification and how an open, community driven standard could be used as an accelerator for the adoption of game mechanics in enterprise.

There are three other individuals that deserve a big round of "Thanks".  James Snell (IBM) and Matt Franklin (Mitre) graciously volunteered their time and stepped up to the plate as spec editors. I will tell you from past experience this is no easy task. There are a tremendous number of areas in the spec that need to be cleaned up, where proper diction and examples will be paramount to ensuring clarity and consumeability. This is on top of the hundreds of other little details that will come up requiring their attention and consuming their time. And finally, Matt "the Hun" Marum (IBM) has agreed to continue his work as Release Manager. We affectionately gave him this nickname because he's the guy who will kick us into shape and make sure we make our dates.

There's a lot to do between now and May, and that's just for 2.5! We'll be starting the 3.0 work right after that. Given the creativity, passion, and dedication that I saw over the last few weeks that culminated in the kickoff, I've got no doubt we are in for another fantastic release of the spec.

--Mark Weitzel
President, OpenSocial Foundation
Version 2.0.1 of the OpenSocial specification has been released for voting. One of the major updates to the specification is finalized support for the OAuth 2.0 specification.

For more information on the changes to the specification and related components, please see the voting thread and file diffs here.

Jonathan LeBlanc
Jonathan LeBlanc (@jcleblanc)
Jonathan LeBlanc is a principal developer evangelist with X.commerce. Jonathan has been a member of the OpenSocial community for over three years and is the author of O'Reilly's "Programming Social Applications".
OpenSocial made significant strides over the past year with the introduction of new capabilities, and broadening its support and alignment with other standards like Activity Streams (http://activitystrea.ms/) and OAuth 2.0 (http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-oauth-v2-22). One of the fundamental tenants of the community is to engage across the standards ecosystem to leverage adjacent standards and technologies when and where possible.

One way to continue the momentum of OpenSocial is to make a clear connection between the specification, the standards it includes and the needs of businesses. Social technologies are changing the businesses that have embraced and applied them but not not only for media. Businesses are using social technologies to better connect with partners, suppliers and employees -- as well as with customers.

But how are the ideas, technologies and standards in the social space holding up as business-use cases are applied ?

The W3C Social Business Jam is a global, online conversation with business leaders, subject matter experts and like-minded individuals about the current state of social business, the future role that social technologies can play in improving the bottom line, and how social technology should evolve in order to support business objectives. A primary objective of the Jam is to cooperatively explore key trends and concepts in social business with an eye towards how social standards can facilitate business goals. The Jam should produce a better understanding for participants of how businesses are using social technologies and the challenges they face integrating the technologies into their existing environments.

Mark Weitzel, president of the OpenSocial Foundation, is one of the noted hosts for the Jam. While Mark will be an active participant throughout the Jam, he is hosting a conversation on the Seamless Integration Of Social from 12 pm to 4 pm US eastern time on November 8.

Come share your insights and opinions. Registration is open and free, and takes just a few moments of your time. For more information, go to : http://www.w3.org/2011/socialbusiness-jam/

David Robinson
We present here a plugin that allows to bring OpenSocial gadgets into Moodle. OpenSocial gadgets are rendered via Apache Shindig (extension of version 2.0 that supports Spaces).

Moodle is a Learning Management System used in many Educational Institutions (Universities) to manage courses. It is a plugin based PHP application that can be extended by installing additional modules. These modules have to be installed on a Moodle server by a system administrator. The Moodle view usually consists of a main center area and a rather narrow right column with blocks. The center area normally contains main resources, such as, wiki, forum, lesson, quiz, etc. The right block contains some helper plugins, such as, calendar, upcoming events, latest news, recent activity, etc. These are to extend the functionality of the main page.

There are two different OpenSocial plugins for moodle. The first one adds a new module to Moodle. It is very similar to pages in moodle, however in addition, OpenSocial gadgets can be specified. Once it is installed, a teacher can choose a "Widget space" to be added to the course and specify OpenSocial gadgets for it. The teacher can choose whether 1,2,3 column view should be used for gadgets.

The resulting outcome is the iGoogle similar view where students can work with gadgets.

The second plugin adds a new block to Moodle. Teacher can add OpenSocial gadgets to the right
column for already existing in Moodle wiki pages, lessons, forums, etc.

One of the main benefits is that the big pool of OpenSocial gadgets can be used by teachers. Thus, once the OpenSocial plugins are installed in Moodle, a teacher can extend the functionality of Moodle without bothering system administrators with plugins installation. The teacher can add and remove gadgets easily and even can write her own ones. The plugins greatly improve the flexibility in choosing the resources and applications for the course specifics. OpenSocial gadgets can be found in the open widget repositories, such as, Role Widget Store, iGoogle Directory, etc.

In addition to reuse of applications existing in the Cloud and flexibility in choosing applications for the course, contextual gadgets and OpenSocial API are the other additional benefits.

Space extension allows gadgets to adapt to a specific context. For example, wiki gadget saves data for a course and manages access to itself only by people engaged in this course. The same wiki gadget will behave differently being added to another course (different wiki history and different people to access it). Such space extension is already used in production in Graaasp and planned in Apache RAVE project.

OpenSocial API brings the standard way to retrieve and exchange social information between different Moodle installations and other social networks, that improves data portability and interoperability.

Plugins work for new version of Moodle 2.1. It should work for Moodle 2.0, though it was not tested. The installation instructions and source code can be found at github:
OpenSocial Moodle module
OpenSocial Moodle block

This plugin was developed within the ROLE Integrated Project and is already used in 5 courses at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Evgeny Bogdanov

Now that the final version of the OpenSocial 2.0 spec has been announced, we at Wrike, as one of the companies leading the charge on social collaboration, are excited about seeing more enterprises lean into this type of integration. In fact, we’ve just developed our own OS 2.0 widget, which will help transform email functionality within Wrike’s collaboration tools. But before we tell you more about that, here’s why OpenSocial has our collaborative juices flowing.

Open season for innovation

It’s a safe bet that the typical iPhone user is used to working with direct access to multiple apps that can help him work and play more effectively. iPhone Marketplace was a bigger source of innovation for users than the phone hardware itself. Many enterprise solutions miss that open ecosystem opportunity today. For example, Outlook has millions of users spending their whole working days in front of it, who would love the same type of easy access to useful apps that would enhance their workflow. Yet, how many of those users installed Outlook plug-ins? OpenSocial 2.0 has the potential to open up innovation for enterprise software, bringing the right apps with the right integrations in a safe package, directly in front of users who want to benefit from them.

Bridging gaps between the apps

The improved safety, compatibility and connectivity that the OpenSocial standard offers, makes it a lot easier to build bridges between useful enterprise apps. Bridges that go beyond simple data integrations into the land of fully integrated user experiences. Taking my own company, Wrike, as just one example, we’re based on the belief that project management tools should be inherently social, and this is a fundamental part of our value proposition to companies around the world. So, it’s easy to see why OpenSocial has us excited about ways we can keep improving our users’ experience and their productivity, by plugging into the networks and tools they are already comfortable using.

Potential to turn email into a structured, real-time platform

A couple of days ago, Wrike’s widget appeared in the OpenSocial 2.0 sandbox with examples of embedded experiences in the activity stream, emailbox and a compact dashboard. I’d like to focus a bit more on the email component of the widget and share why we see great potential in it.

Email software has effectively been on “lock-down” since its inception. When you receive dozens of emails on a daily basis, it gets really challenging to turn that type of inbox chaos into the cohesive big picture of your projects and goals. From the start, a key pillar of Wrike’s product vision has always been to open up that software and bring emails into a centralized system, turning long email discussion threads into neat plans. This is why Wrike created its email integration, which allows users to create, assign, schedule and discuss tasks right from their inboxes.

Today, people use email even more than when Wrike was conceived. So, instead of try to push email out of the office toolkit “nest” (which seems like a hard and unproductive thing to do), we wanted to leverage the good things about it. OpenSocial 2.0 gives us new opportunities to implement our exciting idea – to turn 40-year email functionality into a structured, well-organized, real-time platform that supports sharing, discussions and other actions you need for collaboration. Wrike’s widget brings emails to life and integrates them fully into the project management process. Users don’t even need to change anything in their working habits.

In parallel with developing our widget for OpenSocial 2.0, we’ve been working on Wrike’s new add-on for Outlook. For the end user, the experience will be very similar to what they get with our OS widget. However, if we look at it from the development side of things, building this add-on atop Outlook is a more laborious and complicated process, a whole other world. That’s where we see the big difference between open platforms and closed systems – in how easily can you plug into them.

With the potential that OpenSocial 2.0 offers and the ease that you can build widgets on top of it, I believe that the world will quickly become attuned to getting this kind of experience for many more email clients. People still strongly rely on email in their work and they just need a way to naturally bring those messages into their collaboration process. So, it turns out that email isn’t dead as some claim, it just needed a rebirth, And OpenSocial 2.0 is an essential part of that evolution.

What’s next?

The new generation of apps, built on the open platform, will bring a new wave of innovation and productivity. OpenSocial has already gained support from many players in the enterprise software market. I’m sure we can expect new marketplaces and ecosystems, and faster innovation as others follow suit.

Users will of course be the ones to benefit, but it’s a win-win for everyone, as we continually find new ways to improve the way that we work. Your company’s mission should they choose to accept it? To socialize the enterprise.

Andrew Filev
Andrew Filev (@andrewsthoughts)
Andrew Filev is a software entrepreneur with more than 10 years of experience in project and product management. He is the founder and CEO of Wrike, a Silicon Valley-based provider of project management and collaboration software. To learn more about Andrew and his views, you can subscribe to his Project Management 2.0 blog or follow him on Twitter (@andrewsthoughts).
Programming Social Applications I'm happy to announce that, as of yesterday, Programming Social Applications is officially out in print. I normally wouldn't post on the OpenSocial blog about my own book but the content is specifically designed for this community, so it's a good fit. Within the book I cover topics on:
  • Building social applications and containers using Shindig and OpenSocial.
  • The vast array of features and functionality within the OpenSocial specification.
  • Front-end code security tools like Caja and ADsafe.
  • Authentication systems with OpenID
  • Authorization systems with OAuth 1.0a and 2.0
  • Emerging social technologies like Activity Streams, Open Graph Protocol, PubSubHubbub, Salmon and others.
I will be conducting a webcast through O'Reilly on October 4th, 2011 at 1pm PDT to talk with everyone about the technology within the book and explore some of the interesting emerging technologies that are upcoming. More details to come shortly.

You can purchase the book here or get a free sample here. For those of you that pick up the book, remember that Chapter 12 (OpenID / OAuth hybrid extension), Appendix I (Environment Setup) and Appendix II (Terms) are offered as an online only download from O'Reilly since the book was getting a little large and we didn't want to simply delete content.

Please send feedback and tell me what you think - I'd love to hear from the community!

Jonathan LeBlanc
Jonathan LeBlanc (@jcleblanc)
Jonathan LeBlanc is a principal developer evangelist with X.commerce. Jonathan has been a member of the OpenSocial community for over three years and is the author of O'Reilly's "Programming Social Applications".
Recently there was a thread going around the OpenSocial and Gadgets Specification discussion board about providing an updated list of OpenSocial containers, both at the open and enterprise levels.

From this discussion, we have put together a living document to provide a list of those OpenSocial containers and implementers that we are aware of, including links to their associated information pages or developer networks. You can view the list here.

We Need Your Help

Since this is a living document, the content will always be changing as new containers surface or if we have left something off of the list. For everyone working with different container implementations, we ask that you review the list and help update the content if something is incorrect or missing. We really need the help from container implementers, users and those of you with an extensive OpenSocial container knowledge base to help out.

Thank you everyone.

Jonathan LeBlanc
Jonathan LeBlanc (@jcleblanc)
Jonathan LeBlanc is a principal developer evangelist with X.commerce. Jonathan has been a member of the OpenSocial community for over three years and is the author of O'Reilly's "Programming Social Applications".

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