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:
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.
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