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 model.

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 collaboration.

JAXenter: What’s next for the Apache Wave project?

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 feel.

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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