Transparent Development? We Has It.

You may have noticed more talk about what we’re doing and why lately.

Comments are down, so either this is exceedingly dull to you, or you completely agree and have nothing to add. Either way, as we move forward with our plan to deploy Connect as an OpenSocial container and update the UI to support OpenSocial apps, I’m going to keep blogging about our progress.

A few reasons:

  1. Oracle people read here (maybe just the iPhone stuff) and use Connect. I’d like you guys to know what’s coming.
  2. What we deploy to Connect will eventually make it to Mix, and I’d like you guys to know what’s coming too.
  3. I like the transparent model. Involving your users during design and development helps the beta launch get closer to what people really want, or at least what they think they want.
  4. I don’t want to just talk about stuff in a vacuum. This way you can see that we’re actually working, or at least Rich is.
  5. IMHO agile development works even better if you can start the feedback loop earlier, rather than waiting for beta.
  6. Mix and Connect have been out for a while now, so the platform’s core feature set is pretty well known. We’re not starting from scratch, so your feedback will be based on experience.

Rich has been using Skitch to post screen captures of his mockups. Skitch is a great little (Mac only) tool that captures and uploads your shots. You can edit them as well, awesome little tool. The Jing Project provides similar functionality for Windows (and Mac). As for Linux, I’m looking for something, so if you know of a replacement, drop a note in comments.

Anyway, as Rich finishes his mockups, he’s uploading them to Skitch. You can subscribe to his new images feed and leave comments on the image pages. Very cool.

His latest mockup is the OpenSocial app directory page. Check it out here on Skitch.

Rich has great UI chops, which is why he does mockups. He’s overhauling the whole look and feel of Connect. We plan to dump the tabs in favor of an expandable, left-hand nav, similar to what Amazon does here; hover over “Shop All Departments” to open the nav. Nothing wrong with borrowing design elements you admire.

A couple people have commented that the new Connect UI is a step backwards for us. It was thrown together pretty quickly, loosely modeled after the blue Fusion middleware/EBS R12/PeopleSoft color schemes. The only goal I had was to make it obviously different from Mix; the original Connect UI, which was more popular, used a similar red/white motif, making it a bit hard to differentiate for first-timers.

This is more my fault than anyone else’s, since I pushed for the UI to be different. Look for Rich to sharpen up the UI in the next update.

Stay tuned for more mockups as we progress. Find the comments here or over on Skitch to let us know what you think.

This is great chance to help us build the next version of the platform and influence future versions of Connect and Mix.




  1. I miss my NeXT cube :(. I had one when I was working in the Computer Services Office (CSO) at UIUC back in the good ol' days.

    Thanks for the tip about Skitch, downloading now.

  2. That was play on words, if you missed it. What's next (for us) and what's NeXT (for people too young to remember).

    Anyway, glad you felt like commenting on the real content. Why do I bother? I should just spew iPhone and Mac vs. Linux posts all day long 🙂

  3. I got the play on words, but my first reaction to the logo was
    reminiscence of (good) days gone by. I know you guys are busy with lots
    o' stuff and it's great to see bugs in Mix getting addressed while
    you're still making progress elsewhere. Coordinating all that must get
    to be a lot of work. So, is that what you really do? 🙂

    BTW, haven't seen any of the 'lab check in at
    for the Blogger meetup yet. See you there…and I'm sure before and
    after too if possible. Is there a “Friends of the 'lab” meetup happening
    somehow this year at OOW?

  4. I figured you got it, but I couldn't resist the urge to enumerate how clever it was.

    And yes, I do the bulk of the project management, lucky me.

    I just saw Eddie's post today, and I think I'll be there. No reason not to be. I'm not sure if we'll do a meetup. If so, it'll probably be thrown together last minute, just like last year, and therefore, many blocks away from Moscone.

  5. Transparent development? Where is the SVN url so we can checkout the code and submit patches?


  6. I won't publish it, but if you want to check out the code, drop a note. Our code is open (to Oracle people), and if you want to work on Connect bugs, learn Ruby and get back to me for details.

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