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28 May 2009, 12:45

Google I/O: The programming model of the future is web based

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At its I/O developer conference held in San Francisco this week, Google has presented a range of new products and promoted a web-based programming model as the future of software development. The new products include Google's Web Elements, which allow web developers to integrate Google products like Calendar, Maps, Custom Search or News into their web pages, simply by copying and pasting a few lines of code.

The software giant also announced that support for the Java programming language via its App Engine cloud services platform is now available to everyone – previously, only a select number of developers were given access when the platform was first introduced in early April. Java plays a strategic role because other programming languages like JRuby, Scala, Groovy and PHP can be integrated via the Java Virtual Machine. Google officials reported that over 10,000 App Engine-based Java applications have been built in the past two months. So far, Google has counted a total of 80,000 applications since the cloud platform was introduced in April 2008.

O3D is another relatively new open source project for creating for 3D browser objects and animations. The corresponding API was implemented in JavaScript and browsers require a plug-in to handle the code. The project aims to provide a cross-platform, powerful and easy-to-use platform for 3D applications.

Google also announced two new APIs for Android 2.0 (aka Donut). The Android Search API is similar to Apple's upcoming universal search feature coming in the iPhone 3.0 release. Android Search in Donut will allow users to search across all of their local files. Users can also switch to an online search with the press of a single button. A new Text-to-speech API has also been added to Donut that will allow third party developers to add speech functionality to their own applications. Other new APIs are reported to be coming soon, however, they have yet to be announced.

Mobile application developers will be interested in the second Android Developer Challenge. Google offers various prizes for the best programs for the Android smartphone platform. Based on a Google initiative, Android has been developed by an alliance of telecom corporations, mobile phone manufacturers and software companies. The winners in ten overall categories will be announced in November. Prizes of up to $250,000 are up for grabs and last year, Google recorded more than 1,700 entries for the first developer challenge. Developers cannot enter previously released applications.

According to Google, around 3,000 developers from more than 45 countries have visited the Google I/O conference which ends today. About 80 presentations were held during the event. The keynote address was delivered by Google CEO Eric Schmidt with Google Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra. The Google executive endorsed the web-based programming model as the successor of mainframe and PC-based software development models. According to Google, technologies and business models have reached a high level of sophistication and developers are well trained. Gundotra said that the HTML 5 standard, which is expected to be finalised before the end of the year, and modern browser technologies, together form the basis for the next step beyond the Web 2.0 technologies.



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