Wiki: Redesign

May 20, 2008

While giving demos of Wonderland at JavaOne 2008, one of the common requests I heard was for more documentation about Wonderland. So, as a first step towards that I just posted a redesign of our wiki site (here). You can see that it’s organized around four different (and perhaps overlapping) kinds of folks that would use Wonderland: end users, system administrators, content developers, and developers. (I posted a description of each of these roles here). I hope this makes it much easier to find the information you are looking for.

And my next task is to get to work writing some more documentation — I’m already working on a tutorial that describes how to create new cell types in Wonderland (the main mechanism to extend its functionality). After that, I’m gonna concentrate on some more installation/configuration tutorials. But of course — I can always be influenced, so leave a comment if you really would like to see documentation in some particular area.


Wonderland with Kids

May 15, 2008

We have a guest blog today from a intrepid woman at Sun who took time out of her day job in VLSI research to conduct a volunteer project using Wonderland. In only two weeks, Gilda and her colleague in Chile put together an experience that two groups of second grade children, their teachers, and a host of volunteers are not likely to forget. Here’s a bit about the project in her own words.

Guest blog contributed by "Hello Buddy/Hola Amigo" project lead Gilda Garreton from Sun Microsystems:

"Wonderland with Kids" – that was the name of our talk at the JavaOne Community Corner on May 6th where we presented our experience using Wonderland with kids.

Our Wonderland project took part during Sun’s World Wide Volunteer Week (WWVW) April 26th – May 4th, an event organized by Sun Global Citizenship. The project was titled "Hello Buddy/Hola Amigo." The main goal of the project was to bridge the gap in the digital divide among kids by improving their second language skills through the use of games. The project consisted of connecting two primary schools using Wonderland, one in Fremont, California and the other one in Santiago, Chile. Inside the Wonderland space, the kids in California were supposed to play a series of games like tic-tac-toe and hangman to communicate with their buddies in Chile.

Together with Juan Carlos H from Sun Chile, we originally envisioned designing our own space in Wonderland that would resemble classroom areas. Between the original plan and the actual implementation, we encountered a few issues mainly because we were not familiar with Wonderland and we had only 2 weeks to implement the entire project. Even though we didn’t do all the things we planned on, it is fair to say that it was a great experience from both the users’ and the developers’ perspectives. We did face some challenges related to the space design, software installation and network bandwidth, but I think we still managed to create a nice environment for the kids. They had a blast with the experience and they are more than happy to try again if they get another chance!

Details about this WWVW project can be found in http://wikis.sun.com/display/HelloAmigo, including links to our pictures/videos and the JavaOne Community Corner presentation. For those curious about what "Wonderland with Kids" looked like, below are few pictures taken during the project.

Hello Amigo silly faces   Hello Amigo floating avatar   Hello Amigo whiteboard   Hellow Amigo US map and photograper avatar
Images Copyright 2008 by Sun Microsystems

Finally, many, many, many thanks to the Wonderland developers for their unconditional help. We wouldn’t have done it without them!

Gilda
blogs.sun.com/gilda


JavaOne 2008: ProjectVS and other news

May 8, 2008

Our second two days at JavaOne involved lots of demo’ing and a small but lively community event at the Thirsty Bear Pub. Project Wonderland was highlighted in the JavaOne Today newsletter. The article, Visiting Virtual Worlds — Project Wonderland, provides a nice summary of Paul Byrne and Jonathan Kaplan’s JavaOne technical talk.

In a previous blog posting (And the winners are…), Nigel described two competition-winning Wonderland applications created by community members. In addition to these, we were also demoing another community-created Wonderland application called ProjectVS. Our first guest blogger, Mark Loparco, has been kind enough to contribute a description of this application and share with us some of his thinking behind it.

If you have a Wonderland application or a new Wonderland feature, and would like to be a guest blogger, please let us know!

Guest blog contributed by ProjectVS team member Mark Loparco from Applied Minds:

ProjectVS

From planning a vacation to building an enterprise software application, it seems like everything these days is a "project." As time management guru David Allen defines it, a project is simply anything that requires more than a single action. By that definition, even cleaning out the garage is a "project" (especially if on a Saturday, trust me). Regardless of the scope of the project, all projects share the same three dimensions of Time, Tasks and  Resources. In fact, the interplay of these three dimensions can often spell the difference between a project’s success or failure. For example, too many Tasks and not enough Time or Resources can easily spell Disaster. Too many Resources and not enough Tasks spells thumb-twiddling and cost overruns. And too much Time — uh, forget it, there’s never too much Time.

ProjectVS was conceived to help project managers and team members better visualize the interplay of these three dimensions. Like an immersive Gantt chart, ProjectVS places team members "inside the project" by  dynamically constructing a three-dimensional collaborative "virtual space" for project team members. Written entirely in Java, ProjectVS leverages the robust client-server, telephony, avatar and 3D rendering technologies offered by Project Wonderland. In addition, because it is Java-based, ProjectVS has been able to readily leverage existing third-party Java libraries, including a library that greatly facilitated the parsing of the Microsoft Project files, saving us literally weeks of development time.

ProjectVS Portal In addition to the aforementioned technologies, one of the great things about Project Wonderland is that through its innovative Wonderland File System (WFS) architecture, it affords parallel workflows for both developers and content-creators, something crucial  to the development of interactive applications. Thanks to WFS, we were able to code-lock the project a week before JavaOne while continuing to refine the models and add new content and functionality without having to touch a single line of code, including leveraging our custom Portal class (shown right) that allows you to teleport from one location in the Wonderland universe to another.

There are many possible directions we would like to take ProjectVS. A natural would be to allow users to manipulate the data from within Wonderland itself, such as adding and modifying tasks and users, filtering the users and time ranges, and even round-tripping back to Microsoft Project. We’re really looking forward to continuing to work with the great Wonderland team in both the development and implementation of this amazing forward-looking tool.

 - Mark Loparco, Applied Minds


JavaOne 2008: Day 1

May 7, 2008

The first day of JavaOne is the exhausting one.  We arrived to finish our setup at 8am and gave demos straight through until after the pavilion closed at 8pm.  As tired as we all are, we had a great day.  Everyone we talked to was enthusiastic about Wonderland, and having third party demos (including our competition winners) in our community showcase was a great way to show off how well our community is developing.

In addition to all the demoing, we also managed to give two talks.  Nicole and Nigel described the community demos in a talk at the java.net community corner (slides).  Paul and I presented a technical session, focused on how to extend Wonderland (slides).  I’ve posted links to the slides here, but both sessions were also recorded.  When the recordings become available, we’ll post an update.

Tomorrow we need to remember to take more pictures!  I’ll leave you with this, which is one of the many printed postcards we’ve handed out to people interested in Wonderland.

Application sharing postcard

 


JavaOne 2008: The Day Before

May 5, 2008

The entire Wonderland team gathered at the Moscone Center in San Francisco today (it’s a rare event that the entire group is in one place!) setting up for tomorrow’s open of JavaOne 2008. We have two different pods: one in the Java Playground and the other in Sun booth. In the Sun pod, we’ll be demoing the latest in the MPK20 world (PDF viewer, video panorama, audio and video recording, the lecture hall, the World Builder) — see Nicole’s blog post for more. And in the Playground pod, we have integrated worlds from our Wonderland Showcase competition winners Green Phosphor and Malden Labs as well as a project planning world from Applied Minds that generates collaborative spaces from a Microsoft Project database. (You can read more about our showcase winners here).

If you are at Java One, stop on by, and don’t forget about all of the other Wonderland-related activities at JavaOne 2008.

We’ve snapped some pictures of our Java Playground pod that I’ve included below. But before you peruse those, have a look at a Business Week article that mentions Project Wonderland.

Wonderland demo setup at JavaOne Wonderland demo setup at JavaOne

Wonderland demo setup at JavaOne Wonderland demo setup at JavaOne 


And the winners are…

May 1, 2008

One of the intriguing things about running an open source project with a thriving community is that you never quite know what the community is actually doing with the software. Community members post questions to the discussion forums and those sometimes give us a few clues as to what they’re doing, but the big picture is hard to see. So, inevitably, curiosity got the better of us, and two months ago we announced the Wonderland JavaOne Showcase Competition. We hoped it would provide an incentive for community members to tell us what they’ve been doing with Wonderland. Then we held our breath: what if nobody entered?

We needn’t have worried, because we were surprised to discover several projects that were already quite far along. One team even invited us to join them in a demo on their own Wonderland server! The submissions we received were all of high quality and showed innovative and creative uses of the Wonderland platform. We designed Wonderland to be a great platform for building collaborative 3D virtual worlds, but these projects proved that we’d made a good start (we’ll make it even better in release 0.5). Now we had a new problem. The submissions were so good, it was impossible to choose a single winner! So, after some deliberation we decided to award two first prize winners, who I’m happy to announce today.

And the winners are…

Winner #1: Malden Labs for 6thSpace

6thSpace, created by Malden Labs, is an enterprise-class application designed to manage large scale projects where distributed teams, multiple data streams, diverse application integration, and "always on" collaboration are required. Built on Sun’s Project Wonderland virtual world platform, 6thSpace enables customers to simplify the way in which they access diverse content, collaborate, and utilize 3D information.

Winner #2:  Green Phosphor for Glasshouse

With Glasshouse, Green Phosphor’s interactive data mining gateway application, database queries can be visualized and explored collaboratively in a 3D Wonderland environment. In this example, the user’s query has produced a graph of total yardage by year and team, for the entire National Football League. The upper graph is a detailed view of San Francisco’s 1998 season by player. In the lower graph Chicago’s column and the 1974 row are selected. A 437 yard game by Steve Young has been highlighted. The same techniques illustrated here, along with advanced Glasshouse features, can be applied to analyzing data stored in an enterprise’s data warehouse.

Congratulations Malden Labs and Green Phosphor!

If you’re curious to learn more about these award winners, we’ll be demonstrating them live at JavaOne in San Francisco next week. We’ll have two demo stations in the JavaOne Pavilion: one in the Sun booth (#194) and one in the Java Playground (#1034). Nicole and I will also announce the competition winners at the Community Corner in the Pavilion at 1:30pm on Tuesday, May 6th.

So, come to JavaOne and get inspired! And, if you have a cool Wonderland project, come and tell us all about it. Better yet, show us!

For a list of all the Wonderland and related activities at JavaOne check the previous blog entry.


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