June 29, 2007

Ajax13 - Yet another online office suite!

Everyday new web 2.0 applications appear and users have many options to choose from for any of their task! Be it blogging, photo share, social networks etc. Recently we have seen Google, Microsoft and others come up with online office solutions. These kinds of applications are here make software installations a history. Let me introduce an online office suite called Ajax13. I am not sure why "13" but, the Ajax 13 Inc. is a software development company that introduces web-based applications written using the AJAX based methodology. And their vision is software-as-a-service, which is gaining great momentum these days.

Ajax13 offers 5 online applications. They are ajaxWrite,ajaxSketch, ajaxXLS, ajaxPresents and ajaxTunes. The first four make up web-based office suite similar to Microsoft's Office. These applications have been designed to look like Microsoft Office, making it easy for anyone to start using it without needing to learn a new program.

ajaxWrite is a word processor that can read and write Microsoft Word documents. Apart from MS Word document formats it can handle Open Office format, PDF etc. Thus in a way you can convert your doc file to PDF file through a simple "Save As.." function. But when I tried it out, I couldn't even save ordinary doc file to my hard drive as the Ajax13 team promises. All I get is "java.io.IOException:Conversion failed".

ajaxSketch is a drawing tool that provides an environment for diagramming, creating flow charts, free hand drawing and more. It has been designed to look like Illustrator, but the interface is clean and very easy (except that it is slow compared to ajaxWrite). It supports the SVG format and nothing more. I tried the "Export" menu and was expecting to see a large list of possible exports, but i found only SVG format.

ajaxXLS is just a spreadsheet viewer that allows you to easily open any xls file. The Ajax13 team has a separate spreadsheet editor in Beta stage, but it is still in early stage of development. It has been designed to look like Microsoft Excel, but they promise to have compatibility with Open Office.

Now onto the last product, ajaxTunes. It's a music player that lets you play high-quality streaming music straight from the Internet on any computer. It’s a decent web based layer and they have provided the facility to add it to any website. Thus you can play a song or provide a song list to your website visitors. Apart from these features, you can make use of an AJAX based music manager to which you can upload music available on the web, called Sideloading, so you have access to your favorite songs from anywhere.

Ajax13 team have lot of work to do if you see what Google and others have come up with.Google have recently updated their Docs and Spreadsheets's looks.They have come up with a new interface that looks like windows explorer and easy to browse. But these competitive Web 2.0 applications are going to bring more and more feature rich applications online.

June 28, 2007

GNU ready to Launch GPLv3!

GNU GPLv3 has gone through first,second,third and forth draft and lots of debate.Now FSF (Free Software Foundation) is all set for the official release of the GNU GPL version 3 on Friday, June 29. With this new release GNU community hopes to defend the efforts to make free software proprietary.

The core legal mechanism of the GNU GPL is that of copyleft, which requires modified versions of GPL'd software to be GPL'd themselves. This was the concept which Richard Stallman came up with and he will anounce the release of GPLv3 at Noon (EDT). You can view the live stream from www.fsf.org.

June 25, 2007

Ext, Yet another Ajax &UI Library!

Here is another Ajax & UI library worth looking at! Ext is a client-side, javascript framework for building web applications. It’s developed by Jack Slocum, who started off creating extension utilities for the Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) library. It was then called “yui-ext”. Now Ext is an independent framework which is gaining popularity at a rapid pace.

Ext is dual-licensed under the LGPL and a commercial license. And this is an important flexibility option that you will find in Ext. With regard to support of different server platforms, Ext runs on any platform hat can process POST requests and return structured data. Remember, Ext is a client-side framework!

Ext is built on a slightly different architecture. I would say it’s an enhancement framework. It requires you to include one of the following base libraries: YUI, jQuery or Protoype/Script.aculo.us. Apart from that Ext also have native Ext adapter, so the external libraries are no longer required. But this feature is available only from version 1.1 onwards. You can also use Ext along with GWT and other libraries. I am sure the library support of Ext will increase in future.

Now for development using Ext you will find best tool combination for debugging your application is to use the Mozilla Firefox browser with the Firebug add-on and optionally the Web Developer add-on. If you are looking for an IDE, Spket IDE will be the one you should use! It’s a toolkit for JavaScript and XML development. It supports Support for ExtJS 1.1 development. It also supports JavaScript code completion. Apart from that Spket IDE supports Laszlo, Silerlight and Yahoo! Widget.

June 20, 2007

Adding Social bookmarks in New Blogger

People have started to using social bookmarks and its very common in blogs.But majority of these bookmarks are from sites like AddThis or iFeedReaders or AddThisBookmark etc. In this entry,we will see how to add social bookmarks to a new blogger.

Adding the new bookmarking links are not same as the old blogger.For the old blogger the blog entry url was represented as <$BlogItemPermalinkURL$> and title as <$BlogItemTitle$>.Whereas in the new blogger we have these represented as data:post.url and data:post.title respectively.

In new blogger you need to edit you template HTML to add these bookmarking links.In Templates, select "Edit Html" and check "Expand Widget Templates". Search for <p class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-1' />. Remeber that post-footer-line-1 will put your social bookmark links in footer's first link. If you intend to change the line, update the appropriate <P> tag. Also remember to close the tag in the end!

Add these to the required <P> tag :

Add to:
<a expr:href='"http://digg.com/submit?phase=2&url=" + data:post.url + "&title=" + data:post.title'>
Digg</a> |
<a expr:href='"http://del.icio.us/post?v=4&noui&jump=close&url= " + data:post.url + "&title=" + data:post.title'>

Now simple save the template and you have your social bookmark added!

June 12, 2007

Adobe rolls out Betas

Adobe Systems announced the public beta of Adobe Flex 3, Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) formerly code-named Apollo, Adobe Builder Beta and Flash Player update. With the new Flex and AIR Abode is pushing itself up in the rich Internet applications (RIAs) competition.

Adobe Flex 3 Beta:

The new version of cross platform, free open source framework for creating RIA adds rich new UI capabilities, enhanced developer productivity, desktop deployment and enterprise testing and performance tools. The Flex 3 public beta also marks the first significant deliverable for the open source Flex project, beginning with the availability of nightly builds and a public bug database. Some of the key changes in Flex 3 from its predecessors are:

  • Enhancement to designer/developer workflow.
  • New Containers (mx:ConstraintRow and mx:ConstraintColumn).
  • Code enhancement include: faster compilation, compiler class caching, deeper language intelligence for AS3/MXML/CSS, Code Search, Refactoring, Code Outline, Profiling, Profiling Live Memory Data, Enhanced Module support, and Multiple SDK support.
  • New Widgets, Components and Classes.
  • Smaller SWF file.

Ted Patrick had a week long blog entries on the new Flex version. Each of the above mentioned features is explained in detail.

Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR):

Apollo Runtime becomes Adobe Integrated Runtime. The cross-operating system runtime was code-named Apollo. It allows developers to use their existing web development skills to build and deploy rich Internet applications to the desktop. Now AIR is set to become a major runtime that all the desktops will have. AIR will also pay a major roll in RIA, mashup softwares and Web 2.0 and beyond.

Adobe Flex Builder 3 Public Beta:

Flex Builder 3 Public Beta is available for download in Adobe Labs. This early public prerelease version begins a new, more transparent product development process from Adobe, with frequent, regular access to early builds and greater insight provided into the feature roadmap and planning process. The Flex Builder 3 beta release will provide you with an opportunity to explore powerful new features. Some of the new major features include:

  • Support for the new Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR).
  • Code Refactoring.
  • Memory and performance profiling.
  • SWF file size reduction through persistent framework caching.

You can also view the complete detailed specs for Flex Builder 3.

Flash Player 9 Update 3 Beta 1:

The new Flash player is code-named "FrogStar". It adds support for caching the Flex Framework within the Flash Player. Moving forward the Flex Framework will be cached within the Flash Player dramatically reducing the size of the output SWF files. SWF files will contain only your code and Flex Preloader containing the caching/loading logic. Some of the new capabilities of Flash Player are:

  • Flex Framework to be cached for use across domains.
  • The Player Cache will support Flex 3.0 and future versions of the Flex Framework.
  • Flex Framework now supports Runtime Shared Libraries (RSL's).


So with these new features, Adobe is trying to capture the market which other Ajax libraries have. The size of SWF has been an issue for some time. I know some of the projects which opted other technologies like Openlazlo and others due to the size of SWF file.

Another important factor is with Sun’s JRE. Unless Sun reduces the size of JRE and make it more portable, its new RIA technology JavaFX will find it difficult to compete. Compared to Sun Micorsystems, Microsoft seems to be making ground with its new Ajax projects and other .Net enhancements.

Backbase Ajax 360

Backbase has been a leader in providing Ajax solution. They have released Backbase Ajax 360 is a complete enterprise Ajax solution. It includes everything needed for efficient, risk-free browser-based RIA development and life cycle management. It is solution for ensuring successful Ajax implementations in an enterprise environment.

The new product delivers a complete set of development tools designed to significantly improve developer productivity. Another major advantage is that, the company adds comprehensive services on top of the Framework. They also provide Ajax-based RIA architecture expertise, Ajax training, professional development services and enterprise premium support

Talking about Backbase Ajax 360: It’s a complete enterprise solution built on open standards. The framework includes the entire DHTML stack: (X)HTML, CSS, JavaScript, DOM, XMLHttpRequest, etc. It also supports XPath, XMLEvents, SMIL, XInclude, XMLSchema, and XSLTransform. In addition, Backbase also supports Java standards such as JSF, Facelets, Struts, Spring MVC, JSR 168 and JSR 286. Unlike other available products, Backbase's standards-based solutions work with existing applications and technology. It reduces risk and accelerates development cycles.

Backbase provides a rich Enterprise Ajax Framework with widget interoperability, communication, and binding control to data sources. It also takes care of all routine tasks and requirements, allowing developers to focus on the unique aspects of an application, the business logic and UI composition. The system includes more than 250 pre-built and pre-tested Ajax Widgets and functions. IDE plug-ins is also available for the Eclipse development platform and Adobe Dreamweaver. In addition, Backbase provides real time debugging functionality directly from within the Web browser.

Another major ability is Enterprise Integration. Backbase Ajax client technology is fully server agnostic as well. The software seamlessly integrates with common Web servers, application servers, and portal and SOA mashup servers. It is compatible with any server: Java EE, .NET, PHP, and ColdFusion. In addition to its client technology, Backbase provides additional pre-build connectors and/or runtimes for the Java server platform (e.g. Struts, JSF, Portal, Spring MVC).

I haven’t tested the new product yet. But it looks like Backbase has done their homework to compete with others.

June 09, 2007

Firefox 3.0 Alpha 5 ready for download!

Mozilla released Firefox 3.0 Alpha 5 codenamed Gran Paradiso on June 6th. The new version uses the next generation of Mozilla’s layout engine, Gecko 1.9. It is ready for download but for testing purpose only. Some of the changes included with Firefox 3.0 Alpha 5 are:

  • Bookmarks portion of Places has been enabled.
  • New crash reporting system, Breakpad.
  • New Javascript-based Password Manager.
  • Support for Growl notification under Mac OS X.
  • Support for native controls on Mac OS X.
  • and some bug fixes in Gecko 1.9.
More details can obtained about the new release from Mozilla and they have provided a feedback form as Gran Paradiso is still a baby!

June 08, 2007

Styles in Flex

Flex provides many ways to apply styles to UI components and make the UI appealing. It has been designed to provide a very attractive UI and interaction which other technologies lack to provide. Lets looks at some the facilities Flex provide to modify the appearance of Flex components.

Flex components have properties can define the size of a font or text colour or the background colour of a container. In Flex, some styles are inherited from parent containers to their children, and across style types and classes. This means that you can define a style once, and then have that style apply to all controls of a single type or to a set of controls. Like CSS in HTML, you can override individual properties for each control at a local, component, or global level, giving you great flexibility in controlling the appearance of your applications. At the same time, Flex does not support controlling all aspects of component layout with CSS. Properties such as x, y, width, and height are properties, not styles, of the UIComponent class and, therefore, cannot be set in CSS. Other properties, such as left, right, top, and bottom are style properties and are used to manipulate a component’s location in a container.

We will go through three different methods of applying the styles. They are: External style sheets, Local style definitions and Inline style definitions.

External Style Sheets:

You can use the CSS files apply styles to a document or across entire applications. You can point to a style sheet with simple tag. The following example shows how to add an external CSS file to a Flex application.

<mx:script source=”test.css”>

You can include the CSS files that come with the SDK to get a better look and feel. Also you can create style using photoshop.

Local Style Definitions:

You can set the style for a MXML file or application using the tag. In this case the style becomes local to that particular file. You can apply different style attributes like color, font attributes, padding etc on any components.The following example shows how to apply style locally:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<mx:application mx="http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml">
.redFont {
fontSize: 15;
color: #FF0000;
<mx:button stylename="redFont" label="Red Font">
<mx:button label="No Style Applied">

Inline Style Definitions:

Another alternative method is to apply style to a component inline. These properties apply only to the instance of the control. This is the most efficient method of applying instance properties because no ActionScript code blocks or method calls are required. In this case we apply styles in the component tag itself. For example if we want to apply font size 15 to the button we write:

<mx:button fontsize="15" label="A button"/>

Similarly, we can apply other styles like color, theme color etc.

For now we have talked about the ways to apply styles using the tag. You can make use of Action Script also to apply styles. You can make use of setStyle() method to set the style to any components. Another way is to use Style Manager to manipulate the style of components.I will talk about these methods later as a separate blog entry.

June 07, 2007

Google Releases Calendar Directory

Google introduces a directory of public calendars! Now you can quickly add calendars, search them and browse them. The public calendars are categorized like “Top Picks”, “TV shows”,” Events”, “Sports” , “By Google” and more…

You can add these calendars or view them. Anyone regardless of whether they’re using Google Calendar can view the calendar details by just clicking the linked title for a specific calendar. When you add a calendar to your calendar account, you can then see it integrated as part of your main calendar, color-coded as usual. You can also then set up event reminders.

To have your own Calendar be added to the directory, simply make it public. So Google Calendar is getting updated at last, I was waiting for this. Another new feature to Calendar is the “Add Calendar to Toolbar” option on the top right.

What’s Google next update?? ;)

June 06, 2007

Adobe's LiveCycle Enterprise Suite

Adobe introduced Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite (ES), an integrated family of software for automating processes that help businesses and governments engage with customers, citizens, partners, and suppliers. LiveCycle integrates the capabilities of Flex with PDF technologies. It will make use of Flash Player and Acrobat Reader to enable a new communication between people inside and outside the organization. This new communication style will enhance the integrity, management of information and improve the business process.

Adobe has recently started to target the content management and collaboration sector of software. LiveCycle is yet another step into these sectors. With LiveCycle ES, organizations can deliver applications that are easier to interact with. This enables companies to better communicate with people who are usually frustrated or confused by on-line procedures for doing transactions. These new applications will decrease costly cycle times, and manage information faster and more accurately.

LiveCycle ES improves how people worldwide interacts each other and access products and services. Organizations can use LiveCycle ES to interact with customers through high-quality; self-service applications that provide quality service and still minimize costs.The major technologies that will help are Flex, Apollo and PDF technology on the client side. The success of Apollo will play a major roll in the coming further.

June 02, 2007

Blogger's spam-prevention

I am stuck! I was planning to blog on some other topic but ended up with a strange message from blogger in "Create" section:

This blog has been locked by Blogger's spam-prevention robots. You will not be able to publish your posts, but you will be able to save them as drafts.Save your post as a draft or click here for more about what's going on and how to get your blog unlocked.

Even after requesting for the unlock, I am still have no response from the Blogger!!! The only thing I can do now is create the entries and save them. I will publish this entry once I get my blog unlocked!

PN : [This post was published after the lock was removed]