Archive for October, 2008

Develop Your Own Music Widget With Imeem

October 25th, 2008

imeem

Music Widgets are one of the most popular kinds of Widget online and it is getting easier and easier not only to get well featured music widget. but also to make them. if you want to make your music widget you could try out Imeem. they now offer OpenSocial support and Out Of Imeem streaming support too:

Imeem Developers Platform

Imeem OpenSocial

Imeem Widgets Development

So now you can have your web music widget using Imeem Web Wervices API or put together Social Network Widget or Widget-App with Imeem OpenSocial JavaScript API. making a Music Widget is surely getting easier and easier.

Sun Prepares To Unleash JavaFX

October 25th, 2008

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With the release of Silverlight 2 and Flash 10 respectively. it is fitting for a lot of people to wonder about Java again. more specifically JavaFX. the Java initiative to compete for the RIA web with Adobe and Microsoft. JavaFX is a Script language for  Java. Java while it is still very prominent in the business and Enterprise side it is now a shadow of what it was compared to the late nineties when it dominated the consumer desktop for a lot web apps. Java Applets were the way to do big web apps back then. this of course changed with the insurgence of AJAX and Flash taking the center stage.

This is of course now changing again. Ajax and Flash are no longer enough for Fully Featured Web Apps. even with the insistence of Javascript innovation (Firefox, Chrome) in browser and Ajax Refining (IE8) this is not going to be enough to push the web and blurring of the web with the desktop.  Adobe responded with Flex (MXML) that is a script language applied with Flash and Silverlight that brings XAML and .NET to table. Java is pushing JavaFX Script in a implementation similar to Adobe Flash + Flex .

In order to unleash JavaFX. Sun is now also giving Java a restructuring and tweaking so it can be more agile. install faster, occupy less space and give out better performance. You only need to Download Sun Java SE 6 Update 10 to see how Java has changed. i downloaded it and i must say i had the same impression with it as i had with Flash 10 and Silverlight 2. it is a update that Refines and Extend what you already know and indeed bring more performance gains. Something that Java needed more than anyone else given it is the biggest download compared to Adobe and Microsoft plugins. JavaFX is a powerful contender. it carries more power than Flex and Silverlight but it also got a lot of disadvantages  in terms of performance and maturity compared to Flex and Silverlight that are now quite advanced in the run with each other. JavaFX was supposed (while not officially) to launch in alpha on the fall of 2007. this never happened and it launched in alpha 6 months or so after that. If JavaFX beta fails to launch in the fall 2008. it will be too late for them in the Consumer Desktop. they already face a tough competition if they manage to launch and even if they deliver something amazing it is unlikely they will be more than a 3rd place in the run against Adobe and Microsoft. unless Google haves a change of heart and decides to adopt JavaFX. but such a thing seems unlikely given their Google Ajax + Google Gears strategy.

Even then. this new java update is a step in the right direction for sun and it is good to have it. even if took years for it to finally arrive.

Java SE Update 10 Info

Java SE Update 10 Download (in case you don`t have it already)

via TC

Opera Widgets X Widgets Challenge

October 23rd, 2008

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With the release of the second Beta of Opera Mobile 9.5. Opera also announced a Widget Contest for developers called X Widgets Challenge. this forms part of their strategy to defend their Browser in the mobile market from Firefox and Skyfire and as a plus to promote the Desktop version of the Browser.

There are $10,000 in prizes and in this times of Economic Doom & Gloom. this is the kind of opportunity that should appeal to anyone interested in widget development. they call them X widgets because they are cross device widgets. widgets that need to work in the desktop Opera browser and in the Opera Mobile 9.5 browser. so it also helps Opera against the coming wave of competition they will face with Silverlight and Flash on Mobiles. so why not give them a break and get some money and experience in the process too?. if you don`t trust them because they are Norwegian and they are weird. don`t fret. they are trusty as Canadians. they are cool. i vouch for them. 😀

X-Widgets Challenge

Are you up to the challenge?

Opera is challenging developers to create cross-device widgets or “X-Widgets” that can be used on both mobile phones and PC/Mac computers.

An example of an X-Widget might be a shopping list you keep both on your computer and mobile phone. That way you can update it whenever and never lose track of what you need to pick up at the store. Another could be a simple game that you can play on your computer, then pause it, and continue on your mobile phone – perfect when you are going for a high score. One more could be an online auction widget, where you could follow an auction both at home and on the go, and bid right up to the last minute!

Cash prizes galore!

Opera is stepping up and awarding generous cash prizes for the best overall X-Widgets submitted.

  • 1st prize: $5000
  • 2nd prize $2000
  • 3rd prize $1000

In addition you can win t-shirts and $50 Amazon gift cards if you’re one of the first 20 qualified entrants. The best weekly widget will be rewarded with a $300 Amazon gift card.

If your X-Widget is among our top picks, we will promote it on widgets.opera.com and you might also find it bundled in our next widget product release!

Yes! How do I get started?

Check out our Opera Widget SDK which has an emulator and access to the Opera Widget manager on Windows Mobile and Symbian phones to help you test and play with your creation.

Rules

Have a read through these rules before you roll up your sleeves:

  1. X-Widget submissions must be able to run on both the widget emulator included in the SDK and on your desktop.
  2. On the emulator, the submission must support QVGA (portrait and landscape) and desktop.
  3. You can upload newer versions of your widget, but remember, only the latest approved version will be judged (be careful when adding or removing features).
  4. You are allowed to submit a maximum of 3 widgets, and are encouraged to focus on quality over quantity.
  5. Coding standards are to use a separate markup for styling and scripting.

Submitting your X-Widget

To submit and participate in the challenge you have to:

  1. Become a registered member of the My Opera community (sign up).
  2. Upload your widget to http://widgets.opera.com/.
  3. Send us a link to your submission using our contest form.

Judging

All X-Widget entries will be judged by a panel of developers and marketers at Opera. X-Widgets will be judged on:

  • Usefulness across mobile and desktop
  • Addictiveness
  • Coding quality
  • Design quality
  • Overall quality

Dates to remember

Weekly prize deadlines:

  • November 2nd, 2008
  • November 9th, 2008
  • November 16th, 2008

Final deadline: November 23rd, 2008.

Winners will be announced December 15, 2008 in this blog.

Tips and tricks!

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to send in your X-Widget.
  • You can ask for tips and hints from our developers in forums.

Enter the X-Widgets Challenge!

via My.Opera

On The Fear Of Change In The Web And In Software

October 23rd, 2008

Change is hard. but constant change is the base of living and it is inevitable. however once people have set their mind on something. a framed perception is archived and this perception becomes a commodity and a invocative element of personal routine and personal habits. something that generates a refined Know-How for over time.  this in turn creates a individual experience i call Comfort Reality Zone. This is the reason why people refuse or resist change when it comes into changing a multi level experience. this is why it is so common  for people to resist change when it comes to software and web services.

When a Web Service changes. you are changing 2 things in the user mind:

1.-Perceived Appreciation 

If you change the look of things. you change the user reaction. i remember reading that Meebo had a burst of new users when they changed the color of the home page to blue. minimal change. but it meant a lot because people refreshed the evaluations of meebo thanks to a new first impression. there is a multitude of examples on this. but this example is perfect to frame my point here.

2.-Know-How Culture

If you change the organizational design of a web service as it happened with Facebook. you have just changed completely the knowledge its own users had about the service. you have disrupted what they knew and this creates a new learning curve instantly. I personally think the New Facebook is way way way better than the old facebook. even if they shamelessly riffed a lot from many services in order to create it and then claimed it as totally their own doing. but that it changes everything for the user.that is true. but i think it is justified by the fact that the changes are an improvement. but then i am a Early Adopter and i am always on the edge of new. but to someone who Facebook is a fifth or a third of their whole online experience on a daily basis. this can be hard to  accept and even traumatic since you pretty much FORCED the user to change its behavior completely.

In the case of the new iGoogle. it is more of a case of the first instance. Facebook change on the other hand is a case that touches strongly on both instances. and while Facebook and iGoogle can afford it thanks to the protection its brand and the service mindshare gives them. doing this on a small service is something that more than not has killed the service because users are not as invested and engaged enough  to cope with change and it is 99% likely that the brad is to weak to generate affinity and mental retention. it is actually preferred to do a completely revamp and changing the brand and name included if your service is young.

Even then. i cannot help getting amused when users from a service revolt from change that is without a doubt better than what was before. just like Frederic Lardinois reports in his RWW blog post. good read. recommended.

Resisting Change: iGoogle and Yahoo Profile Updates Shock Users

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