Google open sources Wave components

The company has released some of the underlying code for its upcoming Wave collaboration and communications platform, as a way of sparking developer interest
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Google has open sourced two components of its Wave project, as part of a drive to get third-party developers interested in the communications and collaboration platform.

In a blog post on Friday, Google Wave engineers Jochen Bekmann and Sam Thorogood said Google had released two components of Wave under the Apache 2.0 licence: the Operational Transform (OT) code, and a basic client/server application prototype based on the Wave protocol.

"While these are still early days for the federation protocol and open-source project, our vision for Wave recognises the importance of encouraging and promoting third-party implementations, so users and businesses are able to customise and manage everything from the ground up," wrote Bekmann and Thorogood. "We've also Creative Commons-licensed the protocol specification, the white papers and the Google Wave APIs documentation."

Wave, announced in May, is a set of technologies and software designed to combine email, instant messaging, social networking and document collaboration. In Google's terminology, a 'wave' is a conversation including aspects of all these different types of communication.

Waves are intended to be viewed as live documents that can be edited by multiple users in real time. They can be accessed via a dedicated client or embedded in websites or social-networking tools via Wave application programming interfaces (APIs).

Of the two components being released, the OT code is the primary algorithm that manages the collaborative experience inside Wave, Google said. The version that has been released as open source is more highly developed than the algorithm implemented in Google's own servers, according to Bekmann and Thorogood.

The client/server application prototype, the other code released, is intended as a basic implementation to encourage experimentation with the Wave Federation Protocol, the underlying network protocol for sharing waves between wave providers, they said. In total, nearly 40,000 lines of Java code has been released, according to Google.

The source code was released as part of a Google-hosted event on 21 July, according to Bekmann and Thorogood. The event, called Federation Day, brought together 150 developers interested in contributing to the Google Wave Federation Protocol.

The code is available from the Google Wave Federation Protocol website.

Google has said it plans to release Google Wave to about 100,000 beta-test users on 30 September.

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