Earlier this month, Google Wave announced the new extension gallery that organizes and features the latest and most useful extensions for Google Wave. You can access the extension gallery in the navigation pane. You can view all listed extensions or view the featured extensions. For some extensions, you can even try them out before you install them.
The nice thing about the gallery is that any extension submitted into the gallery is subjected to a review process that ensures quality and continuity within the Wave interface.
My complaint earlier on with extensions and gadgets was that there was a chaotic nature about them. One, to add these extensions, I was usually required to jump through a several step process in order to add them in a Wave. Or two, I would have add some random URL that I’d have to be able to remember and recall to the “Gadget URL” within a wave, or add the particular extension’s bot as a contact. And three, I had no idea how to determine the quality of a particular extension since I was relying on a third party website for information about the extension.
Five Criteria for Extension Developers
So the extension gallery is a step towards organizing these extensions and maintaing a reasonable level of quality and functionality. When it comes to designing an extension, there are five criteria developers must meet, which I will summarize, as described in the Google Wave API’s documentation.
1.) Make it Wave-y. Wave is a real-time, collaborative tool, so extensions should be created around this purpose. This means that extensions should encourage and receive participation from all individuals within a wave.
2.) Make it easy to use. Wave inevitably creates a unique learning curve because the technology is so different than what most users are used to. This is why extensions should be very easy to understand without the need for a lengthy set of instructions. An extension should be as intuitive to use as possible.
3.) Make it easy to install. Earlier I complained about how some extensions require you to enter in a gadget URL. Ideally, developers should be creating extensions that use an extension installer. An extension installer allows the user to install an extension which can then be accessed from the New Wave menu or from a wave’s toolbar. This eliminates the need to “Add a Gadget by URL.”
4.) Make it look good. This one might be pretty self-explanatory, but extensions should compliment the visual experience of Google Wave. An extension that looks like it belongs within the Wave interface makes the user experience a lot more comfortable and seamless.
5.) Make it useful or fun. Ultimately, extensions should help users collaborate more effectively and efficiently, or it should at least be fun to use (e.g. crossword puzzle, sudoku, etc.).
How to Submit Your Extension into the Gallery
If you have developed an extension and want to submit it into the gallery, you can submit it for consideration. It’s quite easy.
First, install the Submitty Extension.
After you’ve installed Submitty, select the “New Extension Submission” from the “New Wave” menu.
Lastly, fill out the information and instructions in the wave. Once, you’ve done this it’ll be able to be shared for review and consideration into the extension gallery.
Images used from: http://code.google.com/apis/wave/submitextension.html
What about a review system?
As the extension gallery grows, I could see the need for an extension review feature. When you get several different variants off of the Napkin extension, you’re going to want to know which drawing board is the best to use. A review system also allows developers to get feedback from those using their extensions. This would inevitably encourage developers to continue to make the best extensions in the gallery.
Overall, I’m excited to see the organization and quality control that the extension gallery brings. Hopefully this will continue to open the doors for well-developed extensions.
So far, what are your favorite extensions in the gallery?