OpenSocial Shindig Released

John Musser
Dec. 19 2007, 12:18AM EST

If you are interested in hosting OpenSocial compatible widgets in your web site you'll probably want to keep an eye on the open source project Shindig. What is it? As Google product manager Dan Peterson describes in Let's get this shindig started: "Shindig is a new project in the Apache Software Foundation's incubator (as per the formal proposal) that aims to provide an open source reference implementation of the entire OpenSocial stack -- Shindig's goal is to allow new sites to start hosting social apps in well under an hour's worth of work." This source "is based upon code that has been powering Google Gadgets and iGoogle for the past few years and is meant to bootstrap the Shindig project."

It's a multi-part project and this first commit includes code for the first two of the four components below:

  • Gadget Container JavaScript -- core JavaScript foundation for general gadget functionality (read more about gadget functionality). This JavaScript manages security, communication, UI layout, and feature extensions, such as the OpenSocial API.
  • Gadget Server -- an open source version of gmodules.com, which is used to render the gadget xml into JavaScript and HTML for the container to expose via the container JavaScript.
  • OpenSocial Container JavaScript -- JavaScript environment that sits on top of the Gadget Container JS and provides OpenSocial specific functionality (profiles, friends, activities).
  • OpenSocial Gateway Server -- an open source implementation of the server interface to container-specific information, including the OpenSocial REST APIs, with clear extension points so others can connect it to their own backends.

This initial release has not yet been tested for "production-level traffic" but can help folks get started. If or how you use this also depends on your team's skillset: "While the initial contribution of the Gadget Server was written in Java, Shindig is language neutral. Ning is planning to contribute an initial version of a PHP Gadget Server, and we've heard rumors of C#, Perl, and Ruby."

With Facebook now licensing their code and Google working to foster a community around OpenSocial and Shindig it looks like news in the social API space won't be slowing down anytime soon.

John Musser

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[...] It has been quite a year for the platform. The impact of this launch shook the social networking space and essentially forced all competitors to offer APIs and platforms of their own. Or as Google has done, they created not only a new open standard, OpenSocial, but an open source implementation, Shindig. [...]