By jason on Aug 27, 2008
A large part of my job is spent travelling around Europe doing customer workshops on OpenESB and JavaCAPS. While its interesting to see so many different projects, it also results in a lot of dead time sitting in planes, taxis, and hotels. As Tim Bray notes, sometimes the Work/Travel Ratio isn't good for anyone. So I started looking at Project Wonderland as a way to do things remotely, when it makes sense to do so, but with more interaction than remote desktops and tools like WebEx.
If you haven't heard about Wonderland, you can imagine it as a private version of SecondLife but with lots of additional features for workplace collaboration. For instance:
- directional audio and softphones for communication between avatars
- virtual conference phones for people to dial in and out to the real word
- video conference abilities using external cameras
- in-world Video and PDF Viewer application
- a Cone Of Silence for private conversations (and a bonus for anyone who grew up watching Get Smart)
- and, most importantly for our goal, the ability to run and share applications between avatars in the world
As a proof-of-concept I modified the default virtual world that comes with Wonderland to provide a virtual workshop environment for OpenESB and JavaCAPS. Then I invited some other Sun guys in the field to come and test it out. Sebastien, Louis, Mark, and myself are distributed throughout Europe but we were all able to join the server and share the OpenESB design-time and run-time environments to simulate a virtual workshop environment.
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Check out our poorly acted example workshop below. Note: the camtasia recording seems to have made the audio a bit crackly in places. The live audio is much better than what is reproduced in the screencast
As a proof-of-concept it worked quite well. Now we can trial it with some
guinea pigs customers, perhaps use it as a way of supporting more attendees at the JavaCAPS Horizons event, or maybe even make pre-packaged workshop environments for customers with distributed development teams.