Update: You might find my latest posts on Google Wave helpful.
So I managed to join the select elite bandwagon that is the Google Wave preview, which entitled me to early access to Google’s new masterpiece and 8 invites to bribe friends with (although I only have a few, so the whole eight might not stretch too far…). I have to admit, I’m not sure what the fuss is about. It’s clever, really clever; but there’s not much to it yet. It is, for all intents and purposes, a well-marketed collaboration tool, or put simply: a clever chatroom. Time will tell though. Perhaps its usefulness is yet to be seen.
Being a devout geek, and a sucker for anything Google, I was led to explore the programming possibilities behind Wave. Rather brilliantly Google have created an API that will allow you to do one of two things: create a ‘Robot’ – an automated participant programmed by you – or embed your own ‘gadget’ in a wave (think a Google map, but your content). The API is rich, if its documentation can be a bit light in some respects (where the hell are the CreateBlip() and such methods documented?! All you get in the API docs are ‘Get*’ methods…pointless!).
Introducing Wave Toolkit
Having programmed plenty of bots for IRC and Eternal Lands over the years I had the experience and ideas behind creating an automated character that can be used to aid users, or simply provide a bit of light entertainment. So after plenty of reading and hacking, I managed to come up with Wave Toolkit; a simple Python robot for wave that provides features that are either lacking or a little tool that might aid your chatroom…err I mean collaborative-blue-sky-thinking…yeah.
To get a bot running you do need a Google App Engine account, which allowed me to explore this little world offered by Google. It’s cleverly done and nicely polished. Still think it’s just cleverly managed free-hosting though ;)
The capabilities of robots within the Google Wave extension API are pretty much exactly what a human participant can do: edit, post, delete and edit ‘blips‘, create waves, see who’s participating and apparently manipulate playback. It’s very fun writing something that can do all this too; that wonderful satisfying feeling of achievement when you spam “hello world” to a wave…
Wave Toolkit‘s in constant development so it might be a little ropey, but please feel free to add firstname.lastname@example.org as a contact and invite it to a wave, and feel free to suggest new things, report bugs or even tell me you love it. ;)
So back to coding more lovely Python, and perhaps writing something useful for all the wavers out there. Right? ;)