Google's Wave Project For Apache Incubator?

Apache Wave Interview

Jessica Thornsby

Becoming an Apache Incubator project will help Wave to attract even more interested developers.

Last week, Google Wave fans rejoiced
as it was announced that Google planned to
contribute the project
to the Apache Incubator. With the
project proposal currently under consideration, JAXenter spoke to
initial committer Torben Weis, to find out if the future is looking
brighter for Wave…….


JAXenter: How will joining the Apache Software
Foundation, benefit WIAB?

Torben Weis: The Apache Software Foundation is
well-known for building strong communities around open source
technology. Becoming an Apache Incubator project will help Wave to
attract even more interested developers. Furthermore, Apache
provides an excellent infrastructure, policies and governance for
running an Open Source project. An important aspect of Apache
projects is that they are always backed by multiple interested
parties. This underpins that Wave is more than a chunk of open
sourced code. It became a lively project and community with a wide
range of stake holders and code committers.

JAXenter: What changes have been made to the
codebase, inbetween Google announcing the discontinuation of Wave
as a standalone product, and Apache Wave being submitted as a
future Apache project?

Torben Weis: Google Wave always served as the
reference implementation while other commercial or open source
projects worked on implementing compatible offerings. At that time,
FedOne, the Google supported open source code base, contained
solutions for the most tricky algorithms (specifically Operational
Transforms) and the communication infrastructure. However, the open
source UI and server were only meant as examples to guide new
developers and projects. At Google I/O 2010, Google open sourced
some more significant pieces of the production code, most
specifically the real-time text editor and the underlying wave data

With Google’s announcement to discontinue Google Wave as a
stand-alone service, they donated even more huge chunks of their
internal production code to the open source code base. In fact, the
open source efforts were greatly accelerated. Thanks to this effort
Wave in a Box (WiaB) has a very nice looking and feature rich web
UI. The server is being extended to support persistence, user
management and access control. Thus, Google and the community want
Apache Wave to replace Google Wave to become a) the reference
implementation for wave technology and b) a ready-to-deploy
solution for collaborative editing on the web.

JAXenter: What will this move mean for related
projects, such as Novell Vibe and SAP StreamWork?

Torben Weis: A key aspect of Wave technology is
that it enables federation between different systems. Migrating the
Wave effort into Apache’s well-established processes for both
community and code development will help everyone who is interested
in building with Wave. The wave federation protocol is still in
place and several companies, including Novell, are working on
federation. As the reference implementation matures, it will become
easier and easier to adopt the wave federation protocol in more
projects like SAP StreamWork. For another example, the U.S. Navy
also stands to benefit from this project migration, as they are
analyzing using wave federation as a means for ship-to-ship

JAXenter: What’s next for the Apache Wave

Torben Weis: The next step on the Apache side
of things is to finalize the proposal and put it to a vote to
become part of the Apache incubator (it seems that vote will happen
next week). In parallel to that, the project is actively working on
improving the server, i.e. efficiently persisting waves in a
database, improving user control, adding management interfaces etc.
Thus, one major goal is to push the server in a state where it
becomes easily deployable and usable for interested users. The web
UI is getting some love as well. There are several UI proposals
floating around on the mailing list to improve the look and

Furthermore, the community is providing demo servers, for
example which always demonstrate the
latest state of WiaB development to those who do not want to
compile and install it themselves. If you’re interested in
contributing, or have caught a bug: please get involved!

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