You or your client may have an idea for a web service so revolutionary that it could kick start the shift to web 3.0 all on its own. Unless you have a plan for building a website to go along with it, that sweet idea will most likely remain just that--an idea. Fortunately, Mockingbird, our Chrome Web App of the Week, is here to help you get the show on the road.
Your eyes are absorbing this webpage. They're passing over this, this, then this word, right now. That's how reading works, online: you take this for granted. But what if you couldn't?
We grant our gaze to electronic screens for most of the day, and in return, they give us anything we want. We stare; they glow. We rarely speak, and neither do they.
And this makes sense! The internet is a boundless collection of text, images and video, channeled to flat pieces of glass and plastic, beamed through lens, retina, and nerve, all the way into our brains. It can show us anything, and for most web users, that's exactly what it does.
But for millions of others—those who are unable to see—the web is a wildly different place. Characters become sounds. Layouts are meaningless. Images are, at best, words, and at worst, blank spaces. And yet the blind browse the same internet as everyone else, every day. They use the same gadgets the sighted do, and happily. But how?
Google unveiled Google Wave, a real time collaboration tool, at Google I/O 2009. There was huge interest at first; many people scrambled to get invites to the service. After all that early attention, Wave has largely been forgotten by the public. Today Google has made the announcement that Wave development will stop at the Googleplex.
It's not going offline right this moment. Google has said they intend to keep the servers operational for now, but the service might be completely shut down eventually. Frankly, Wave really never shook the "beta" feel for us, so stopping development is as good as a death sentence. Much of what was new in Wave, like live typing with remote collaborators, is open sourced and could show up elsewhere.
Google's official line on the rationale for ending the project is pretty matter of fact. "Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked," Google said in the blog post. The Big G also claimed in their post that they are working on tools to help users export their Wave data. Have you been using Wave for anything important, or did it just fade into the background for you? Feel free to express your feelings in the comments.
Google has released a new web security tool developers can use to check their sites for security vulnerabilities. The tool is called Skipfish and it runs on a Linux or Unix command line in a similar way to well known utilities like Nmap or Nessus. The only difference is that Skipfish runs much faster.
The software is capable of processing 2,000 HTTP requests per second on even a modest system. Tests on local networks have yielded more than 7,000 requests per second. Skipfish owes this amazing speed to its straight-up C implementation.
The tool was designed to identify code that could allow vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting attacks and SQL/XML injection attacks, among others. It even supports asynchronous processing of multithreaded processes for high scalability. If you’re a web developer interested in the software, you can get it here.
Palm is changing up the development platform for its WebOS based devices. After a short private beta, the new Ares SDK is available to aspiring WebOS developers. While Palm’s Mojo SDK has been available for several months, Ares is different. The Ares SDK is entirely browser-based. That seems only fitting for a platform that relies so heavily on web technologies to create apps.
Palm’s goal here seems to be to get more web developers involved. These people may be well suited to developing for WebOS, but would never go to the trouble of downloading a SDK. Ares endeavors to keep everything one might need in a single place.
There aren’t really any other surprises beyond that. The SDK still won’t allow a lot of complexity in apps. For the most part, you still won’t see software that is as advanced as what we see on Android and iPhone.
Google has released a new Chrome extension at Google Campfire One. Bruce Johnson, Engineering Director, wrote on the Google blog about a cool new developer tool unveiled at the development gathering.
The new extension dubbed “Speed Tracer” is aimed at web developers and helps to optimize performance of web applications. The Speed Tracer application features many useful metrics for developers to identify performance issues within a particular application. Of note, it features a “sluggishness graph” that shows developers a quick and dirty overview of how the application performs and where it should be streamlined.
Microsoft has released the source code for its Sandbox virtualization technology, offering Web developers a new method for protecting the contents of a Web page from malicious exploits and code injections. The project has been released under the Apache 2.0 license, a source no doubt familiar to Microsoft, as the company began sponsoring the Apache Software Foundation to the tune of $100,000 annually last July.
While the Apache Software Foundation isn't sponsoring or endorsing Sandbox--Microsoft's just using the software license--the move is nevertheless the second time Apache and Microsoft are tangling up this year. Microsoft announced its intentions to donate code to Apache's Stonehenge project on January 19.
We've explored Microsoft's increased interest in the world of open-source solutions before. Click the jump to find out why the software giant is so interested in letting everyone else play in its Sandbox for free.