It’s an AJAX world: Hive 7

I just spent a few minutes talking with Max Skibinsky, founder and main developer behind Hive 7. Wow, he's a total JavaScript God or something. He's done stuff in the browser that I didn't expect. They just released a beta preview of Hive 7 today.

Anyway, Om Malik got the same tour a few hours earlier so I'll just link to him and go back to working on stuff here at Microsoft (yeah, working late again, damn email is just flowing faster and faster).

Om, this isn't real full 3D yet. Your camera position can't move and you can't spin things like you can in Second Life (objects are flat, but look 3D because of opacity). That isn't taking away from what Max did at all. It's awesome.

Also, it does both Second Life and Hive 7 a disservice to compare the two. Second Life is a downloadable application. That means it'll be far richer than a browser-based application. But Hive 7 will get more users quicker because most people aren't willing to download an app and install it, especially if they perceive there isn't much value there (and for most people there isn't much value in these things — yet).

In Hive7 I was brought into a room with lots of objects in it. Chairs. Tables. Curtains. Each thing was an object that I could drag around. Each was programmable via JavaScript. Max inserted a chess board in the middle of the room and we were playing chess. He inserted a picture of my son and put it on the wall. He inserted a video and started playing it. He inserted a Web browser and we browsed the Web together. Very cool stuff. All in a browser Window. All with no plugins or other installs.

Oh, and the backend? It's running on Windows Server 2003 64-bit. I'm noticing a trend lately — more and more cool stuff on the Web is running with Windows as a backend (MySpace announced last week that they were running on the same). Max says he can't yet afford to build out a huge datacenter so if too many people show up all at once they might not be able to get in.

If you get an opportunity to play with it, do, it's a lot of fun and even if you don't end up a long-term user you'll appreciate what a browser can do a whole lot more. Works on IE and Firefox.

Comments

  1. For those of us building web applications on the Windows platform, it would be really helpful to hear about other significant and/or cool web applications running on Windows.

    Would give those of us making an investment in Windows/ASP.NET feel a lot better about it.

  2. For those of us building web applications on the Windows platform, it would be really helpful to hear about other significant and/or cool web applications running on Windows.

    Would give those of us making an investment in Windows/ASP.NET feel a lot better about it.

  3. As a note, another system using AJAX that might be of interest is the Echo2 system. It’s a java library allowing Java Swing development in a web platform. I’ve been working with it for a while, and it’s one HELL of an amazing system. For example, you can create an application that has pretty much the full functionality of a standard windows application, using standard event driven programming. For more information, here’s a link:

    http://www.nextapp.com/products/echo2/

    And, it’s ALL ajax, and works in any browser.

  4. As a note, another system using AJAX that might be of interest is the Echo2 system. It’s a java library allowing Java Swing development in a web platform. I’ve been working with it for a while, and it’s one HELL of an amazing system. For example, you can create an application that has pretty much the full functionality of a standard windows application, using standard event driven programming. For more information, here’s a link:

    http://www.nextapp.com/products/echo2/

    And, it’s ALL ajax, and works in any browser.

  5. [...] Update: And Scoble, thanks to his sudden and new found love of Second Life, refuses to see the possibilities of Hive, complaining about its not really 3D. Dude, SL has had 7 years, these guys have been at it for about eight months. Clearly, the Microsoft mindset where, desktop is the empire at work! John Hartman explains quite eloquently why Second Life is not an OS. [...]

  6. You know, there was an avatar based web browsing program in 1996 or so built by an Israeli company and eventually bought by AOL. Of course, we never heard from them again, but in the story in Wired Magazine it looked pretty cool. Basically, any webpage you viewed would have your icon, and the icon of others who were on that page. You could communicate with them IM like directly, pass files, etc. You could even ‘join hands’ and jointly go to a new website together.

    This, of course, is a bit more advanced, but the idea has been out there…

  7. You know, there was an avatar based web browsing program in 1996 or so built by an Israeli company and eventually bought by AOL. Of course, we never heard from them again, but in the story in Wired Magazine it looked pretty cool. Basically, any webpage you viewed would have your icon, and the icon of others who were on that page. You could communicate with them IM like directly, pass files, etc. You could even ‘join hands’ and jointly go to a new website together.

    This, of course, is a bit more advanced, but the idea has been out there…

  8. Interesting, Andrew. The nly program like that I can recall from that era is the one where you could talk through your microphone and move your avatar. It had a pretty cool avatar design and speech modulation program.

    I’m getting a lot of javascript failures on the Hive but the fact that it runs without a major download is impressive.

  9. Interesting, Andrew. The nly program like that I can recall from that era is the one where you could talk through your microphone and move your avatar. It had a pretty cool avatar design and speech modulation program.

    I’m getting a lot of javascript failures on the Hive but the fact that it runs without a major download is impressive.

  10. Oh, and the backend? It’s running on Windows Server 2003 64-bit. I’m noticing a trend lately — more and more cool stuff on the Web is running with Windows as a backend

    2 companies make a trend? That’s a little bit of a stretch.

  11. Oh, and the backend? It’s running on Windows Server 2003 64-bit. I’m noticing a trend lately — more and more cool stuff on the Web is running with Windows as a backend

    2 companies make a trend? That’s a little bit of a stretch.

  12. Hive7 AJAX virtual world in beta

    Hive7  is a virtual world using AJAX and is sort of like 3D chat mixed with MMO components (and hence why I'm slotting this as “other MMO”). Hive7 has something SL sorely needs: a built-in browser. It is c…

  13. This is going to sound totally selfpromoting and all, but I recently switched my blogdesign to an ajax engine with several cool features, built uppon wordpress. I really see this as the future of blogs and websites. People customize their page or blog the way they want to themself. You can enable it so that people can choose to throw out your entire design, all the categories and all the ads, just have the posts themself. The saved design obviously apears the next time you visit the site.

    Ajax search and not having to refresh the page if you hit a link is also a nice advantage.

  14. This is going to sound totally selfpromoting and all, but I recently switched my blogdesign to an ajax engine with several cool features, built uppon wordpress. I really see this as the future of blogs and websites. People customize their page or blog the way they want to themself. You can enable it so that people can choose to throw out your entire design, all the categories and all the ads, just have the posts themself. The saved design obviously apears the next time you visit the site.

    Ajax search and not having to refresh the page if you hit a link is also a nice advantage.

  15. Glitchy Link – reBanged; Hive7

    reBang – Hive7: Interactive NetSpace Csven points to a really interesting 2D interactive web page, Hive7. w/ avatars, chess, and chat! UPDATE: Read Chris Carella’s take on Hive7 only at The Daily Graze! UPDATE 2: Scoble weighs in.

  16. BlogReader: it’s not just two companies, but thanks for noticing. There’s a reason that more than 1,000 people showed up in Las Vegas to hear what we’re doing last week.

    But, this demonstrates I should make a list!

  17. BlogReader: it’s not just two companies, but thanks for noticing. There’s a reason that more than 1,000 people showed up in Las Vegas to hear what we’re doing last week.

    But, this demonstrates I should make a list!