HTML, CSS and JavaScript for Apps … why didn’t I think of that?

Recently I’ve been catching up with the the excellent new blog/podcast The Changelog which covers

what’s fresh and new in open source

Listening to [episode 0.0.8](http://thechangelog.com/post/334287138/episode-0-0-8-marshall-culpepper-from-appcelerator-titan) (you have to be a geek to appreciate the episode numbering!), I became aware of an interesting new application development platform called [Appcellerator Titanium](http://www.appcelerator.com/).
Inspired by products like Adobe Air and Microsoft Silverlight, Titanium leverages the open source WebKit web-browser engine (used in Safari, Chrome, iPhone and Android) to create a software development kit (SDK) that allows the development of native desktop and mobile networked applications (or apps). The unique selling point? The heart of the platform is a web browser, you can develop applications using standard HTML, CSS and JavaScript that will run, with native look and feel, on Windows, Unix, Mac OS/X, iPhone and Android. It’s one of those brilliant, obvious with hindsight, “why didn’t I think of that?” kind of ideas … and as a teacher of web applications technology ***very interesting*** indeed!
Now, can anyone think of suitable undergraduate projects to try this out on? Answers in the comments!
**The Small-print**
Like most modern web-based services, Titanium is available via a “[Freemium](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemium_business_model)” subscription model. You can sign up, create a project and get the generated starter code and development tools for free. Support plans are also available on monthly/yearly per developer contracts. There are also a collection of free and paid-for training videos available. [Video 101: Welcome to Titanium](http://vimeo.com/10024550), hosted on Vimeo, is worth a look.
**More good stuff**
For more breaking news on interesting open source projects see also [Explore GitHub](http://github.com/explore) and [Tail the Changelog](http://tail.thechangelog.com/). I’ll endeavor to highlight other interesting projects and podcasts here.

Pivot My Data

A couple of TED 2010 highlights that I stumbled on today. First Tim Berners-Lee reports on year one of his “More Data Now” campaign. Next I finally got around to watching Gary Flake on the data visualization features of Microsoft Livelabs Pivot (which I first saw reported on Swansea Yammer network a few weeks ago).

Try to find 30 minutes to watch all three videos then reflect like I did on what might be possible when Pivot and linked data colide!
It could be revolutionary – both for the citizen and for education!
Links:
– [Tim Berners-Lee on the next Web](http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_berners_lee_on_the_next_web.html) (TED2009)
– [Tim Berners-Lee: The year open data went worldwide](http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_berners_lee_the_year_open_data_went_worldwide.html) (TED2010)
– [Gary Flake: is Pivot a turning point for web exploration?](http://www.ted.com/talks/gary_flake_is_pivot_a_turning_point_for_web_exploration.html) (TED2010)
– [Making Data Public](http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/video/2010/jan/22/freedomofinformation-timbernerslee) (Video), Time Berners-Lee and Prof. Nigel Shadbolt at the launch of data.gov.uk. (The Guardian)
– [data.gov.uk](http://data.gov.uk/) – UK government data online
– Linked Data – [linkeddata.org](http://linkeddata.org/)

YUI Library

This last week or so I’ve been watching a lot of Yahoo! YUI Theatre videos on JavaScript, starting with Douglas Crockford’s excellent five-part series Crockford on JavaScript and ending yesterday with Christian Heillman’s inspiring talk on YQL and YUI. This has inspired me to explore how I can use YUI (a JavaScript library) in the next version of my Proman dissertation project management application which will be needed for 2010-2011 allocation round in May. If it works out, there’ll also be some new teaching material for next year’s Web Applications module (EG-259).

I’ll post more in the under the tag YUI on the [Proman, Man](http://promanman.blogspot.com/search/label/yui) blog as I get to grips with this stuff.

I Ping therefore I am

Just a quick post to tell you about a new (to me) social network notification service called ping.fm. Just by connecting to your favourite services you can update them all from a single web site. I’m using it in the HEFCW Peer Support project to post messages to Ning, Facebook and Twitter. Many other services are available including LinkedIn, Yammer, Flickr, Posterous, Blogger, Tumblr, FriendFeed, Delicious, etc. Other features:

– You can also distinguish between micro-blogging, status updates and blogging,
– ping.fm automatically shortens URLs, but at the moment it doesn’t seem to shorten tweets and link to the full text.
– You can post to all your social networks, select particular networks or create groups of networks that you want to update together.

There’s also a mobile version at [m.ping.fm](http://m.ping.fm) and an iPhone version at [i.ping.fm](http://i.ping.fm).
Finally, It’s interesting to note that ping.fm is a service brought to you from the people that brought you pbWiki.