iOS Open Source : Nimbus


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The name Jeff Verkoeyen may sound familiar if you worked with the popular Three20 (Facebook) framework. Jeff took over the project from its original creator, Joe Hewitt. Nimbus is a project created by Jeff to overcome a number of challenges with Three20, including limited documentation, cross-dependencies, a complicated build process and minimal unit tests. No doubt, Three20 offers a number of time-saving UI controls, however, it is not trivial to get things working.

The goal of Nimbus is quite admirable: Nimbus hopes to one day provide as much value as Three20 does on a feature-by-feature comparison, but with the invaluable benefit of sublime documentation and test coverage.

What You’ll Find in Nimbus

– Launcher offers an icon-centric UI
– Asynchronous image downloading and caching
– Photo scrolling viewer with zoom support
– Table-based form elements
– Many other helpful controls

Below is a screenshot of the support for tables and form elements as well the launcher UI. Both apps are included in the example set packaged with Nimbus.

Nimbus History

To get a full appreciation for the history of Nimbus, take a moment and read The Nimbus Backstory, near the bottom of the github page (link below). Trust me, it’s worth a few minutes of your time…

Download Nimbus

You can download Nimbus from github.

Open Source Recommendations ?

Have you written or worked with iOS or Cocoa open source that you think others would find interesting, send me a note.

New from Facebook: ‘Timeline’ view, lifestyle apps, music and movies with friends

[UPDATED] Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is on stage at the company’s f8 conference for developers in San Francisco right now, and he just unveiled a new Facebook feature called “Timeline” that’s a new take on the user profile — letting people show major moments of their life on one page.

“It’s the story of your life,” Zuckerberg said via webcast. “You have all your stories, all your apps, and a new way to express who you are.”

More details in this Facebook blog post.

Timeline will work with “a completely new class of apps” related to media and lifestyle activities, he said. The idea is to “rethink a lot of industries,” including the ability to discover new things through friends and track personal activities over time, such as running and eating.

Facebook calls them “open graph” apps, a reference to the way they tap into the “social graph,” each user’s network of Facebook friends.

In a demo on stage, Zuckerberg showed the ability to listen along to a song with a friend, and chat about it. It’s part of the social network’s launch of a new integrated music platform, with Spotify and other partners.

“It’s amazing how much music you can discover through your friends,” Zuckerberg said.

Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek appeared on stage, but Zuckerberg also cited other music services involved with Facebook’s music initiative, including Seattle-based Rhapsody, which launched a series of new social features last week.

The integration of media into Facebook, and the sharing of experiences with Facebook friends, will also extend to movies and television shows. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is now on stage talking about his company’s involvement. Zuckerberg says there will be a “social version of Netflix.”

Another feature will let Facebook users see and read collections of news stories being read by their Facebook friends.

A map view of Timeline leverages Microsoft’s Bing Maps, reflecting the partnership between the two companies.

Timeline will be rolled out gradually in the coming months, the company says.

There are some parallels between Timeline and Intersect, the Seattle social networking startup, and we’ve reached out to its founder Peter Rinearson for his reaction.

Here’s a Facebook video previewing the Timeline feature …

Laser Motive beams up cash to transmit electricity without wires

Imagine being able to transmit electricity without the wires. That’s the promise of Laser Motive, a Kent-based startup that’s announcing today a new round of cash from Space Angels Network.  The company’s technology uses laser beams to wirelessly transfer electricity over long distances, with potential applications in aerospace and power transmission.

In fact, the company has set world records for laser-powered helicopter flights, with the latest record set at the Future of Flight in Mukilteo, Washington last October. It also previously won $900,000 as part of NASA’s Power Beaming competition.

The company is led by Tom Nugent, the former research director for LiftPort Group, and Dr. Jordin Kare, an expert on laser propulsion.

We’ve interviewed Nugent in the past and his company is one of the more interesting we’ve encountered in Seattle. Brad Fleury, a member of Space Angels Network, an early-stage investment firm focused on aerospace ventures, noted that Laser Motive has the potential to “revolutionize the aerospace industry.”

Here’s a closer look at the company:

Livemocha opens door on language learning at Seattle Public Library

Visitors to the 28 branches of the Seattle Public Library will now have the ability to pick up some new language skills, thanks to a partnership between the library and Seattle startup Livemocha.

The company has similar programs going at about 68 library branches, with plans to expand across the country if it meets with success.

“In our extensive work with libraries across the country it’s become apparent that those who carry library cards have a thirst for learning,” said Michael Schutzler, chief executive officer of Livemocha. “We’ve also learned that most people want to learn practical language skills rather than mastery, a goal achieved through frequent practice in small blocks of time with access to native speakers.”

Launched in 2007, Livemocha already boasts an online network of more than 11 million members across the globe. Users of the site. Combining the online learning with the physical locations at public libraries could be a smart move for the company, which landed $5 million from Seattle venture capital firm Maveron and others in July.

UPDATE: One interesting possibility with the library partnerships would be for Livemocha to start hosting in-person language learning classes. Up until now, the company has focused its efforts on online learning. But a spokeswoman for the company said that members of Livemocha already informally get together to learn language skills, but the company has started discussing ways to encourage more formal meetups at physical locations. The library partnership is one possible solution, she said.

Here’s more on the new program, which allows any Seattle Public Library patron to gain free access to Livemocha if they have their library barcode and pin.

Previously on GeekWire: Kindle e-book lending goes national, at 11,000 libraries 

India’s HCL arrives in Redmond with big growth plans

HCL Technologies, which has morphed from one of India’s “garage startups” into a multi-billion dollar IT services juggernaut, has established a new engineering hub in Redmond as part of a North American expansion.

The company, which is publicly traded, said it plans to add up to 400 workers in Redmond in the coming two years.

The new facility will focus on software product development, test engineering and platform development.

Political leaders applauded the move, with Gov. Chris Gregoire noting in a statement:

“We appreciate that HCL has recognized the value of Washington, which is home to an established business climate, highly-trained technology professionals and an excellent quality of life. I am committed to HCL’s success in Washington State and I applaud the diligent work of our state’s Commerce Department and enterpriseSeattle in helping HCL choose Washington State to grow and expand.”

Other foreign tech companies have arrived in the Seattle area recently, including NewBay Software of Dublin, Ireland which set up shop last year.

HCL Technologies is part of HCL, a giant Indian corporation with $6 billion in sales and more than 85,000 employees in 31 countries.

Facebook Music: Rhapsody chimes in with 30-day trial

Rhapsody made a surprise appearance at Facebook’s f8 conference today, at least in the form of its logo on a slide shown by Mark Zuckerberg as he introduced the social network’s new Facebook Music platform for listening to tunes with friends.

Here’s how Rhapsody is involved: The Seattle-based music service will be offering a free 30-day trial to Facebook users, without requiring them to enter credit card information or automatically converting them to paid subscribers once the free period is up. It will through the Facebook Connect login service.

Facebook users will be able to access the free Rhapsody trial when friends who are using Rhapsody share what they’re listening to via “scrobbled” links. The 30-day trial will also include the ability to use Rhapsody on mobile devices. The Rhapsody service normally starts at $10/month.

At the same time, the Facebook Music launch also highlights the newly competitive landscape for Rhapsody. Appearing on stage with Zuckerberg today was Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, whose service recently launched in the U.S. and offers a free version that has proven particularly popular in Europe.

Rhapsody, which was spun off from Seattle-based RealNetworks last year, launched a series of new social features last week on its website.

Previously: New from Facebook: Timeline view, lifestyle apps, music and movies with friends

Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla coming to Seattle for Startup Weekend Edu

Vinod Khosla

Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla plans to deliver one of the keynote addresses at the upcoming Startup Weekend Edu event, which is taking place at the University of Washington September 30th to October 2nd.

“Vinod Khosla is one of the biggest names in the startup world…,” said TeachStreet founder Dave Schappell in a blog post. ”I can’t think of a better person to kick off our event to inspire our attendees to build some revolutionary innovations.”

Khosla certainly is a big deal, a former Sun Microsystems executive who went on to become one of the most respected venture capitalists on the planet at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. The graduate of Carnegie Mellon University now runs Khosla Ventures, where he’s taken a particular interest in the topic of education.

In addition to Khosla — who will speak Friday night — the event also will feature a keynote from Lotus Development founder Mitch Kapor.

Startup Weekend EDU is a 54-hour coding marathon in which teams create new education-oriented startup companies.

Editor’s note: GeekWire is a media sponsor of Startup Weekend Edu.