Feeds

Google brews mashier OpenSocial language

For all your Web 2.0 ills - except people and Facebook

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

Google I/O A decision on whether to press ahead with a re-usable architecture from Google to simplify the development of applications spanning multiple social networks is due in the next few days.

Members of Google's OpenSocial project are next week expected to vote on a proposal for a new template language that'll be used to build tags for use with OpenSocial. OpenSocial defines common APIs for applications across multiple sites using JavaScript and XML.

Google told its I/O conference Thursday tags will assist in development of applications that pull in data and feeds from different social networks such as MySpace and contacts-database-in-the-sky LinkedIn. It'll also lock down Web 2.0 apps against cross-site scripting (XXS), the company claimed.

Google's hope is for a core set of between five and 10 tags to eventually be devised and that these will be used to measure compliance of developers' applications with the OpenSocial specification. The search giant expects a community of non-core tags to also evolve.

Explaining the tags, Google OpenSocial developer Evan Gilbert said they could specify the position of a picture in a social network page or a user's account data could be displayed when somebody reading the page mouses over the picture.

Tags will, according to Gilbert who proposed the templates idea, reduce the amount of code needed for development, and will see HTML rendered by the social network rather than the browser. In a demo 18 lines of HTML were shrunk to six after they'd been run through a tag. Tags will also speed performance, by offering sever-side optimizations that batch-up requests to the server instead of issuing them individually.

As to security, Gilbert promised tags would be completely free of XXS problems. That is unless - of course - "developers work explicitly around XXS protections". Oh, yeah - that old thing: people doing stuff with the technology the inventor hadn't intended.

XXS is a huge swinging door in Web 2.0 applications that nobody seems willing to acknowledge is wide open at evangelical events like Google's two-day I/O conference.

It's also not clear when this programming manna will descend from Heaven.

This being the Google community - where things emerge organically and software is in permanent beta - there's nothing so fascist as an OpenSocial roadmap. Also, a "yes" vote would only open the door to the next phase - building the language. A spec and implementation are expected on, or after, June 9.

David Glazer, Google's director of engineering, told I/O the plan had been for inclusion in OpenSocial 0.8 but that specification is now finished - if the implementation is not actually stable. Glazer told Reg Dev the language could appear in 0.9.

Meanwhile, it seems the Apache Software Foundation's Shindig incubator project, building an open source social network architecture based on OpenSocial, will use version 8.0 of the API. Shindig is almost completely manned by Google engineers. Glazer said Shindig is "more than half-way" towards compliance with OpenSocial 0.8.

Google product manager Dan Peterson predicted social networks would continue to use version 0.7 of OpenSocial for a while, unless they want RESTful API development right away. RESTful APIs were featured in version 8.0. Those who do want REST will move to the new OpenSocial during the next few months, he said.

Those committed to OpenSocial include AOL which this week announced it's going to adopt OpenSocial on myAOL.com. AOL joins LinkedIn, MySpace and Marc Andreessen's Ning among a mish-mash-up of others committed to OpenSocial.

Missing from this hit list is teen social networking sensation Facebook, which has been sparring with Google over the ability of the search giant's Friend Connect service to suck out its users' details.®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.