Social media may be a standard for modern communication, but the technology standards behind our defacto interaction mechanism leave a lot to be desired. However, the team over at the Apache Software Foundations (ASF) are taking a step in the right direction. ASF has promoted social media mashup platform, Apache Rave, to a top-level project after a year in incubation.

Exactly What Is There to Rave About

Everyday a significant portion of the human population logs onto a social network such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+. This popularity has driven enormous demand to integrate social features into everything from grocery shopping to enterprise software. Although social media is pervasive, the standards are not. Standards like OpenSocial, ActivityStreams, W3C Widgets and even OpenAuth address different aspects of social media interaction, but are at different levels of maturity and leave developers to determine how to integrate them. 

Apache Rave makes that a little easier by providing single framework. Many of the features in Rave were already implemented in proprietary projects by member organizations now working on the Apache project. Organizations such as the MITRE Corporation, Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute, SURFnet, OSS Watch, and Hippo (and numerous individual developers) elected to move away from their proprietary implementations and instead create Rave. The project’s key features include:

  • Advanced OpenSocial compliance, including support for optional features
  • Security and user/group privacy
  • Support for inter-gadget communication
  • Several out of the box gadgets

Apache Rave demo November 2011 from Stefan Schinkel on Vimeo

In addition, features like security and persistence are designed to be extended. Although the project is just becoming a top level project, several organizations have already integrated Rave into their infrastructure and open source content management system provider Hippo plans on integrating Apache Rave deeply into its platform. Potential users should be aware that Apache Rave is a Java-based platform, which may cause a few integration woes for the many Ruby, PHP and .NET based sites.

Apache Rave is available now for download. Detailed documentation, included several how-tos are also available on the Rave project site.