Code Review: I/O Videos, Gears release, App Engine examples, and more

JUN 20, 2008
By Dion Almaer, Google Developer Programs

We are trying an experiment, putting up Code Review in a variety of formats, from text to audio (iTunes) and video.

You have probably heard by now, but all of the slides and video of the presentations at Google I/O are now available to watch and read. There are some real gems in there, such as Steve Yegge talking about dynamic languages and server side JavaScript.

Just as we come down from I/O, we head off to Google Developer Day events around the world. I am personally off to Brazil and Mexico City, and I am looking forward to meeting the local developers.

I gave a tech talk at Yahoo! where I discussed Google Back to Front, covering Gears and App Engine. I shared a simple App Engine example that takes a Gears-enabled Addressbook application that shows how you can store history in a visual way, and ports it to save the data on App Engine. You can watch a code walk through to see it in action.

Dick Wall (Google) and James Ward (Adobe) also got together to create an AIR application that talks to App Engine on the back end. The application, called QuickFix, takes a photo and has App Engine run the Picasa "I'm Feeling Lucky" transformation.

It is really fun to watch the great applications being built on App Engine already, such as Wordle, which builds "word clouds" from a series of text.

One final piece of news on App Engine. Nick Johnson (Google) created a little application in his spare time (read: not official) that is quite useful. bridges SMTP to HTTP. This means that you can have your App Engine applications accepting email as input via the proxy. smtp2web will send an HTTP request when it gets an email on its doorstep.

There has been a lot of focus on the browser this week. Mozilla released Firefox 3, and look like they have set a download record in the process. There was a lot of browser news though, including all of the major vendors.

The standards are moving too. HTML 5 has a new working draft, and we are seeing the germination of an Acid4 series of tests.

When it comes to Gears, we saw the full release of version 0.3 which included support for the new Firefox 3 browser. It also includes the ability to create desktop shortcuts, new install flow support, progress events, and much more.

We also saw more frameworks baking Gears in. Appcelerator uses Gears under the hood to make your existing Appcelerator based application a better user experience. Also, Frizione is a JavaScript development, testing, and deployment environment that also has Gears under the hood.

Speaking of testing, Markus Clermont and John Thomas wrote up an introduction to testing Ajax applications, something that is notoriously hard to do.

The Geo world is cooking as usual, and you can check out the numerous election mashups as the season continues to blossom.

If you fancy some fun on Google Maps, Katsuomi Kobayashi has created a 2D Driving Simulator using the new Flash API.

The folks at 360cities also have a great new interface that uses the Flash API, and they also seem to use every other Geo related product. We were fortunate enough to have them come in and sit down with them, and get a bunch of demos.

What else?

If you care about the social Web, check out Kevin Marks post on how not to be viral. It makes you think long term about your strategy.

Kevin Lim posted on the Custom Search API and the new developer guide. This API always surprises me with its richness, and how you can create a fantastic, custom, search experience on your own Web site.

Related to that API, we have another new AJAX Search API, Patent Search. I have to admit, I feel sorry for you if you have to use it (due to the content)!

And to finish up, Michael Ogawa has created some great visualizations of open source projects over time, such as the history of the Python code base. Check it out below.

As always, thanks for reading, listening, or watching, and let us know if there is anything that you would like to see.