Reviving Xebece?

A long time ago, it all started for me with the Xebece project. That was my first Open Source project, and it started my involvement in GNU Classpath, which brought me all the way to OpenJDK. Unfortunately, it stalled when I started working on Classpath, and it never really got back to live. One reason was, of course, that my time is limited and Classpath was a time consuming and more fun project to work on. Another reason was that some parts of it are really a bit broken and not so much fun. Most notably the graph drawing library (I don’t even remember its name) wasn’t in a very good shape, and it seems to be abandonded and I didn’t want to fix it. The interesting part is that I originally started out using the Hypertree library, which is really quite nice and makes very impressive graphs (check out the screenshots on their site). At some point I threw it out though, and went with the other for – well – patent reasons. Turned out the hypertree rendering algorithm is patented, and since we wanted to really make money with it, this was not an option to go with. However, the other graph library didn’t quite make so nice views, and the thing was much less fun.

So today I thought, why not start again, use hypertree again and make it really rock? Then I thought about what it should be:

  • Visualize and navigate structured (tree, graph) data (large amounts of) in a really nice way (using hypertree)
  • Attach less structured (e.g. HTML) data to it
  • Many import filters to easily visualize all sorts of data (imagine the graph of twitter followers to be visualized in this manner 😉 )
  • Export to applets, … for easy embedding in your own webpage

More or less what it is now. But then I thought a little more about that last point. Why export to applet? Why not make it an applet to begin with? Or, even cooler, a nice little JavaFX app? Hmmmm, many new ideas and possibilities start forming in my mind.. 😉 Stay truned and tell me what you think!

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Social Macroblogging Idea

So I’ve been using Twitter for a while now. In some ways it’s a fun idea. But for the most part, it seems kinda useless. The 140 characters limit really destroys it for me. The information is really either useless gibberish or crippled. Or both. On the other hand, one aspect I like about Twitter is the social aspect. You build relationships with other people by following and unfollowing tweets. This kills the spam problem very elegantly and at the same time gives you a nice aggregation of your friends’ tweets. But in general, I still prefer blogs, for the simple reason that it is more efficient for transmitting/broadcasting information.

So here comes the idea. Why not mix those concepts together. A blog that works just like twitter. It’s basically a blog without comments, that has (personal) planet/aggregation included. You can follow other people’s blogs, and others can follow yours. Commenting is done similar/equal to the @ notation in Twitter. And the handling would be as simple as the typical microblogging services, i.e. you enter stuff in a textfield (but now with html formatting if you wish), below you find the aggregation of feeds that you are following. No complicated admin frontend with tons of features, spam filters, extensions, and whatnot.

Now I expect somebody will point out that something like this already exists.

If not, I will start hacking up something like this soon enough…

Update: Of course, it would support RSS and all the usual fluff. Maybe even Twitter API..

I’m gonna need this

… very soon:

This made my day.

Who had thought that…

… I’d agree with Miguel de Icaza. Good read. Hits the nail on its head about what I dislike about Richard Stallman.