Friday, June 27, 2008

Apache looks to bring fun back to Java

Apache announced this week the first release of Apache Sling, an open-source Web framework intended to make Java development fun again, according to a bulletin from the organization.

Sling brings content into the Web and provides a platform to manage and upgrade content. It makes use of a Java content repository such as Apache Jackrabbit.

"Sling is intended to bring back the fun to Java developers and make the life of a Web developer easier," an Apache representative said.

"It's really just a framework for building a Web app," said Santi Pierini, senior vice president of marketing at Day Software, which has contributed code for Sling and uses the technology in its Communique' (CQ) content management platform. Sling still is in an incubator stage but could become an official Apache project in a few months, Pierini said.

"We're trying to create a Web framework that makes it easier to build what they call RESTful apps," said Pierini in an interview on Friday morning. With Sling, a content delivery framework and content access capabilities are provided so that developers not have to code these themselves, he said.

Sling can be used for building various types of Web applications, including wikis, blogs, customer self service, and digital asset management systems, Pierini said.

The framework is based on Java Specification Request 170 for Java Content Repositories. That specification features an API for interacting with these repositories. Additionally, an embedded Apache Felix OSGi framework and console provide a dynamic runtime environment enabling code and content bundles to be loaded, unloaded, and reconfigured at runtime.

Sling, Apache said, makes it easy to implement simple applications while providing an enterprise framework for more complex applications.

A scripting layer using Apache BSF (Bean Scripting Framework) enables Sling to be used with any scripting language. Developers also can use Java and develop applications in RESTful way.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Google Mobile Maps adds mass transit

The mobile version of Google Maps has long ranked among my favorite cellphone applications. It makes it dead easy to find local businesses when I'm on the go.
That said, I've always thought the mobile program should add a major feature from the Web-based version of Google Maps: information about public transit in many major cities -- including Dallas.

The folks at Google apparently agree because they've just added public transit information. This version of Google Maps for mobile even has a few tricks not yet available on the desktop version of Google Maps. For instance, you can find the last transit trips of the day (to figure out how late you can stay at the party) and more easily browse through earlier or later trips. The My Location feature, available on most phones, also makes it easier to set the start point of your journey.

Unfortunately, the upgraded Mobile Maps won't work on all phones that support the older version (including my Motorola Q). It only works for BlackBerry handsets and most other Java-based phones.
If you have such a device and a data plan, you should definitely check out what the program can do and then download it from