Developing an OpenSocial Portlet

I dedicated some time this weekend to creating a fully functional demo with OpenSocial, Shindig and JBoss Portal. It seems like OpenSocial has a lot of new supported platforms coming out in 0.8 and the future is looking promising. Here is a bullet list to summarize what I found:

  • Documentation is scarce when you want to roll you own OS container via Shindig
  • Luckily Chris Schalk did a good job providing some documentation on getting persistence setup on a mysql db
  • Unfortunately, due to the bleeding edge of this technology, some of (the few) demos that exist don’t work with today’s Shindig trunk
  • I was able to quickly learn Google widgeting and am on my way to being a “widget master”
  • Next on the list is to mess around with Google Data APIs in OpenSocial Apps
  • The transition/integration of Shindig into a standard webapp/portlet was a huge pita. Too many hard coded servlet context in .js files.
  • It seems like (for now) you really need to be into the Orkut scene to leverage current social users. Myspace is something I try to stay away from, and I was really hoping to see some LinkedIn stuff but was let down.

This is definitely the way portals are headed and I guess I will try to muster up the energy to write an article once the kinks are worked out of my demo. I would also like to do something cool with the collected social data inside of a portal environment (like notifications of other user activities, posts, changes, etc…). I used the JBoss Portlet Bridge Richfaces project/archetype to create the demo. The bridge makes it incredibly easy to do stuff like this because of having things working on both the servlet and portlet side.