One of the great mashups going on now is not just mixing content, but media. WebTV. NPR on an iPod. MTV on YouTube. TV on the Radio. Some social virtual worlds are lightweight enough that they can run within the frame of a Web browser when you visit the associated site. While we have always had documents, applications, sounds, movies, and Web browsers running within our Croquet and Qwaq virtual worlds, we’re now doing a bit more ping-pong between the Web and Qwaq Forums.
<%image(20090816-ForumPage.gif|522|437|Web page corresponding to a room in a virtual world. Click for full size.)%>
Pages like this one make it easy to get information (e.g., documents) into or out of a forum without using the 3D collaborative client. Maybe you’re not at your usual laptop or desktop computer and only have Web access. Maybe you are an executive or assistant to someone working in the forum such that you can’t suit up and be seen.
The picture above is of an automatically generated Web page for a room in a virtual world. Each forum has one if the owner has turned on the capability. As with all our work, you need to sign in as an authorized user, and all the content is protected in transit. In the case of the Web pages, it is by HTTPS, which is what your bank probably uses for online services.
The picture gets updated automatically when people are in the space, and you can dive in-world by clicking on the picture. (It is a “QRL” that launches the Forums client application and puts you into the world at that location.)
Below the picture is a form that lets you upload a copy of a document directly to the forum without entering it. The document will appear at a place in the forum designated by its users, and it will be attributed as being imported by the authenticated user that uploaded it.
In the table of Recent Activity, you can see who last saved this forum and when. You can see each of the last documents to be saved in it, and everyone whose most recent entry was to this forum. Each of these last are links to other pages: for the document, or for the user.
A Document Page is similar, with a picture of the document that you can click on to dive into the forum right at the place where the document is. You can download a copy of the document directly from the Document Page.
Each User Page shows the user’s screen name, picture, email address, the last forum they entered, and whatever “status” text they enter from within Forums. It also shows (as linked activity) the documents that they were the last person to save.
The pages have breadcrumb links back to the organization that owns a given Forum, and a page of all the organizations at this site. These let you see aggregated activity across the organization or site. More generally, there is a specific such landing page for each element in our world: users, places, and documents.