The World First Ever HTML5 Advertisement

Category : Google, HTML5, Open source, web

We all love new technology, its event better when it is open and standard. But getting your feet wet and actually using the new technology? and in production? and where there is money involved? that is totally a different matter…

Last week I started advertising a big developer event we are holding in November – a countdown clock that counts the seconds till Google Developer Day . We considered a Flash ad like we are all used to, but our marketing team though it would be cool to have HTML5 ad…

I am a little a shamed to say that at first I objected, saying that HTML5 is still not fully supported by all browsers. After much deliberation we decided it was worth the extra budget to serve HTML5 for browsers that support it and Flash Ad to deprecated browsers. The reports from the publisher is that this HTML5 ad beats all Flash ads CTR. This is something worth investigating – is HTML5 ads perform better than Flash ads?

So get ready – Here is the first world HTML5 ad (click to enlarge) -

For the next few days you would be able to view it (with Firefox and Chrome) here.

Finally I Have a Budget to Support Open Source

Category : Google, Open source

I have been an Open Source enthusiast for a very long time. I have written several open source projects, and although I have yet to find a perfect open source revenue model, I still contribute and enjoy the ride.

I think that open source, even if still not fully main stream, constantly improves our lives, even for those of us who are not a tech-geek like me.

Now things are radically different, it is now part of my job to support and ensure the success of open source in my region. Now I finally have some budget to do what I love and believe in.

Last week was my first (and very humble) contribution in August penguin, a local open source event. The organizers did not want us to officially sponsor the event but agreed that I bring food :)

So here it starts, my first monetary contribution to  an open source initiatives. I hope and plan to support multiple events and projects in order to drive a more open future.

Voice Recognition API in Android Apps Using RecognizerIntent

Category : Android, Google, Java, Open source, Software development

Voice interface is not a common application user interface, we do not usually interact with application using voice. But when it comes to mobile it makes more sense.
We are used to talk to a phone all day – why not talk to our phone apps?
Not all voice interaction should look like this video:


Here is how you use Android Voice Recognition API:

  1. Call the RecognizerIntent  - your application call the Voice recognition Intent that records the voice.
  2. Intent processes the voice recording – sends it to the voice Recognition Service and returns
  3. A list of string is passed to an implemented callback method in you application
  4. You process the string and continue the interaction with the user

Here is a simple call to the intent:

     /**
     * Fire an intent to start the speech recognition activity.
     */
    private void startVoiceRecognitionActivity() {
        Intent intent = new Intent(RecognizerIntent.ACTION_RECOGNIZE_SPEECH);
        intent.putExtra(RecognizerIntent.EXTRA_LANGUAGE_MODEL,
                RecognizerIntent.LANGUAGE_MODEL_FREE_FORM);
        intent.putExtra(RecognizerIntent.EXTRA_PROMPT, "Speech recognition demo");
        startActivityForResult(intent, VOICE_RECOGNITION_REQUEST_CODE);
    }


And here is the callback:

      /**
     * Handle the results from the recognition activity.
     */
    @Override
    protected void onActivityResult(int requestCode, int resultCode, Intent data) {
        if (requestCode == VOICE_RECOGNITION_REQUEST_CODE && resultCode == RESULT_OK) {
            // Fill the list view with the strings the recognizer thought it could have heard
            ArrayList matches = data.getStringArrayListExtra(
                    RecognizerIntent.EXTRA_RESULTS);   

          //DO SOMETHING WITH THE MATCHES

        super.onActivityResult(requestCode, resultCode, data);
    }

Here is a full code sample – I played with it today and will very little effort created a Pizza ordering application for my next demo session.

Leaving Microsoft and Joining Google

5

Category : Best practices, Google, Microsoft, Open source

I try to talk about myself as little as possible in this blog, but this is a personal post – so if you are looking for a tech-post, wait for next week.

In the last 5 years I have worked for Microsoft in several positions and done a lot of exciting things – presenting at events, doing business development with Startups, and doing technical sessions for developers and architects all the way to managing the sales of Microsoft Cloud Platform, Azure, in Middle East and Africa.

Lately, I have been approached by Google to do a very exciting role of a Developer Relationship Manager – working with developers, startups and enterprises. Last week, I have decided to accept the offer!

Working for Microsoft has been a great learning experience –big corporate mentality, cross group work, presentation skills, breath of technologies, as well as sales management and processes. Having said that, being an open source guy at heart and working for Microsoft was always challenging – I tried to compensate by collaborating with SUN and the open source community and even presented in their events and invested in joined effort, but in general people around me were not as enthusiastic about openness and free software as I was (what great surprise there!!) so I always felt a little like Dr Jackal and mister Hyde.

In my new role in Google, driving open source projects and FOSS development will be an integral part of my job description. This brings me great childlike joy and excitement, something we tend to forget or loss along the way in the high-tech business.

Integrating CakePHP with Facebook Graph API

2

Category : Facebook, Open source, PHP, Wordpress

I just move my site (Cats Idol) from Drupal to CakePHP. It has definitely been a good move – in two weeks, working at night, I have gain a lot of control and flexibility I needed and did not have in Drupal.

CakePHP is an easy to use and agile development framework that provide an MVC,  a great ORM, and other useful tools for rapid application development.

But more on that in a different post..

Another major feature I needed was integration with Facebook:

  1. I wanted to use Facebook Auth and provisioning rather than t write it myself
  2. I wanted users to be able to comment and Like content on the site
  3. I wanted to publish content on users wall when they add content to Cats IdolCakePHP : the rapid development php framework

I found a very useful plugin, developed by Nick Baker, which provides this functionality and more.

So check the plugin here.

And you can see a demonstration of it in action here.

And CakePHP app integrated into Facebook here.

Thanks Nick, Great Job!

Ad Supported Open Source Site/Blogs – Poor Revenue Model

4

Category : Open source, Opinion

If you are reading these lines, chances are you will not click on any of my ads.

In one of my previous articles, I have explored several revenue models for open source projects. I have promised to update on ad-supported revenue model as a way to make money from open source. In this article I report back on the relatively poor revenues you get out of this channel.

I have confirmed this fact with many open source bloggers and they all provide the same feedback – Software developers in general and open source developers even more so, are not interested in clicking on advertisement.

Spacebug, for example, is a dev-blog and has some open source projects hosted in it. Spacebug.com has moderate popularity – it gets about 60k unique visits a year. The revenues I see from it is about 100-200$ a year. It covers the expenses but is nothing to write home about.

These are some possible reasons why visitors to dev-blogs do not click ads:

  • Developers are not here to shop – they are not interested in anything other than free content provided in the site.
  • Developers are so accustomed to ad-supported websites the advertisement are transparent to them.
  • Developers use ad-blockers and do not get the ads served in the first place
  • Advertises and ad networks fail to deliver interesting content that fits the developer needs

I base these reasons on my behavior as a developer who visit dev-sites and from feedbacks from other open source bloggers

Auto-suggest jQuery plugin

3

Category : AJAX, jquery, Open source

What is auto complete and auto suggest?

Auto complete and auto suggest are a user interface feature that extend search functionality. It basically makes it easier and fast for the user to search structured data.

There is sometimes a mixups between Auto complete and Auto suggest. I will try to state what comes to my mind when talking about both. I also share a fix/midification I have done for a cool auto suggest jQuery plugin.
Continue Reading

Useful JQuery Plugin to Display Errors, Messages, and Alerts: Gritter

Category : jquery, Open source, Software development, Tips, web

Real estate on your web page could be as important as real estate in real life. You got very little space on your client screen and need to use every inch (or pixels). Errors and messages take up valuable space that could be better used for more important things.

That is why Gritter is a great JQuery plugin – it saves real estate on your page by showing alerts, messages and errors in a floating bubble way, that is both informative and (because you can configure Gritter to fade away after a few seconds) non intrusive:

This image was taken from one of our new site’s design, we decided to use Gritter instead of putting the errors and notification inline.

Check out Gritter’s demo site and project site and, for CakePHP developers, here is an article about integrating Gritter with CakePHP.

It is open source, looks great, easy to integrate, and is very useful!

CakeOTP 1.1 – User Registration with One Time Password for CakePHP Released

Category : CakePHP, New Release, Open source, PHP, release, Security, Software development

CakeOTP is a reference implementation of User Registration with a secure, table-less and expirable implementation of One Time Password for the popular CakePHP development framework.

New in CakeOTP release 1.1

1) Automatic login process, after the account activation- The user is automatically logged into the site and is redirected to an internal page, immediately after activating his/her account.
2) User email validation.

Download this release here.

Checkout the Online Demo, project page and getting started page.

How to: Automatic User Login in CakePHP

Category : CakePHP, Open source, Software development, Tips

Sometimes you need to enable silent (implicit) login for your users. A good example of this would be this – after a registration process, you would want to automatically login the user, rather then having him retype the user name and password.

In CakePHP there is a simple method in the Auth components that lets you login on the user’s behave.

Here is how it is done:


// assuming $password is the clear text password
$this->data["User"]["password"] = $this->Auth->password($password);
$this->data["User"]["username"] = $username;

// do the login
$login = $this->Auth->login($this->data);

// $login is true is login went well.
// now we can redirect the user to any page:
if($login){
$this->redirect(array('controller' => "anycontroller",
'action' => "any_secure_action", null));
}

This will be implemented in the next CakeOTP release.