So microwave is now on the app store. Though wave was just announced to be shut down, I had the app done already (though I was waiting for a wave server update so thread continuation and attachment uploading would work), and I just published it anyway. So here it is. Grab it while wave still works :). It supports offline, so you can cache some waves and read them on-the-go.
I spent the first year of high school mildly obsessed with Google Wave. To be fair, I still think it's pretty cool— but apparently that opinion was a minority one.
One problem was that they had tried to replace everything— email, instant messaging, google docs, mailing lists and web pages— severing their ties with the outside world. Everything was contained within a bloated operating-system of a web app.
Microwave was the first real third party Google Wave client. Wave Reader uses Microwave's core (magnetron?) to to publish waves as plain web pages.
A little robot using the Robots V2 API to expose a wave to a URL. If the URL is shared, then anyone can post anonymously on the wave.
Edit mode is no longer experimental, a new implementation includes a tiny diff engine which allows editing a post without necessarily destroying layout. Root blip editing is now possible. There is a new tag list on the bottom of each wave, also including an “Add Tag” button. Search results are now formatted with modification date, number of blips, number of unread blips and read/unread state. There is a new settings panel when you click the logo. Added support for the internet exploder browser starting at version six. Owner_utils is a setting which adds utilities like “set everyone as read only”. The New Wave feature no longer creates pop-up prompts, but rather silently creates and opens an empty wave. It renders the live-editing cursors. There is a new multipane interface for desktop. Gadget support has greatly improved. It handles rotation on a mobile webkit device better. It now uses Wave Data/Robots Protocol 0.22 and renders using the newly exposed conversation model.
Over a few days, things can change fairly quickly. There have been several speed improvements, a new Forum-Style blip rendering option which arranges blip linearly by the time edited with each containing a formatted quote of the parent to establish context. Attachments are now fully supported, including thumbnails and download links. The operations engine was totally rewritten which uses asynchronous XMLHttpRequest, a new callback based system and support for a batch operations (which means fewer requests and faster responses). A wavelet header containing a list of all participants in the entire wave has been added, as well as an Add Participant button. A specialized, extremely fast gadget viewer was added, which allows for blazingly fast rendering of two popular gadgets (and more will come), it works by bypassing the entire gadget infrastructure and loading trusted code directly inline with the DOM. There is a “New Wave” button which allows people to create new waves directly from the client. The OAuth backend was authenticated with google, for more secure login transactions. Blips have a new context menu which allows for features such as Delete Blip, Edit Blip and Change Title. A full changelog can be found here.
I like bragging when I do something nobody else has done before. And μwave is the first true third-party wave client which is compatible with Google Wave. It’s free to use at http://micro-wave.appspot.com/ and works great on mobile devices. It supports searching for waves, opening them and writing replies.
Currently it doesn’t know read/unread state of the waves from the search panel and doesn’t know read/unread blips, but as of time of writing, its a limitation and flaw in the current version of the Google Wave Data API (introduced just ten days ago at Google I/O). Expect this to be resolved in the near future with upcoming versions of the API and this application.
The source code for the server component is open-source and can be found on github (though it’s slightly outdated, but the important stuff is there). It’s fairly simple (It’s based on the original example code so I’m going to have the same MIT license), but one of the few python scripts which can do authentication with google and pass commands to the data api. It relies on the Python OAuth Library.
The Blip renderer component of this is licensed under the MIT license and can be found on the old microwave repo. The only part left is the interface, which is going to be the usual GPLv3.
For a little bit of history, this isn’t exactly a new project. The google code project has existed since January 9th, 2010. The purpose was to create a mobile-friendly version of Wave Reader. But that goes even deeper, I can trace it back to the original Static-Bot dated to October 18, 2009. Then, the Google Wave embed API allowed people to view waves only if someone had a Google Wave account and was logged in at the time. This was quite problematic as Wave was still a limited preview which not many people had and probably hampered adoption.
Another separate but eventually convergent issue which led to the microwave project was “Desktop Wave Reader + GWave Client/Server Protocol“ post which I made on October 29th of 2009.
During late October of last year, I reverse-engineered some of the features of the Google Wave client. Up until then, the only published specs were the federation protocols, which dealt with how multiple wave servers would use a common protocol to allow multiple users without a central authority and for the gadget and robot apis. Notably missing was a client/server api, for a user of specifically the google wave client, which did not yet support federation (and to date, preview still does not), and to browse/view the waves in one’s inbox without needing to switch to an entirely new provider. The first component was the ability to read waves. After that was accomplished, I tried to reverse engineer a more complex aspect of the protocol, which was the ability to search waves. I eventually realized that that component, search was part of a larger puzzle, which was the real-time BrowserChannel wire protocol which virtually all of wave was based. I made some progress, but near the end, I gave up in frustration. Luckily, someone else became interested in the same thing, and Silicon Dragon basically got search working.
This happened now in early December. I started on a project called Wave Reader, which merged the ideas of static-bot with the desktop wave reader and a new functional blip rendering engine. At that time, the Google Wave client was still horrendously slow, taking several minutes at times to load large waves.
On January, I began a project to merge Wave Reader and the wire protocol (search). I thought an awesome name would be microwave (or μwave) and started the code repo on January 9th. I worked on it a bit, so that it was mostly complete, with search and loading all working, with one missing component: login. Eventually, I got bored and the project lay abandoned for a few months.
This gets us to basically 4 days ago, when I started working on a renaissance of the μwave project, based on the recently released Google Wave Data API. The first component was creating a new blip renderer specifically designed for parsing the new (much cleaner) json format which is part of the robots api. Then I created a client around that and created a python backend for having it work on app engine.
The Future is always awesome to prophesize about. In the coming weeks or days, google will probably update the data api to allow for information like So, while http://micro-wave.appspot.com will likely remain free and maintained for the forseeable future, I do plan on making a paid iPhone/iPad app. The iPhone app may have some extra features like offline/caching support.