Adding Robots to Wave in a Box

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Starting this past July, I had the opportunity to spend some time "Down Under" working as an intern on Google Wave. Since I had worked with Google before on building the open source software that runs the Google Summer of Code and Google Code-in, I joined the Wave open source effort this time. I was primarily focused on open sourcing the Robots API, so that non-Google wave servers could support robots for their users.

One month into my internship, Google announced its plan to discontinue developing Wave as a standalone product, however Wave technology will continue to move forward as an open source project.

The Wave open source project, renamed Wave in a Box, is aiming to become a server for hosting waves inside a small company or community. With a few extra steps you will even be able to talk to other wave servers all over the world, based on a concept called “federation.” Over the past few months the Wave in a Box team has made a lot of improvements, for instance the panel for viewing waves now supports much more of the functionality from Google Wave, and it looks better and is a lot faster too!

The Robots API has now also been included in Wave in a Box and has most of the functionality available on Google Wave. One of our example robots, Echoey, for Google Wave also works on Wave in a Box. This robot -- as the name might suggest -- echoes whatever is being typed. Due to the realtime nature of Wave, the echoing happens while you type!

Wave in a Box still has a ways to go and the future of the project is being discussed at this week’s Wave Summit in San Francisco. Keep an eye on the Wave in a Box website for videos of the sessions. If you are interested in running your own wave server or want to help make Wave in a Box better, take a look at our repository and mailing list.