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Think Outside the Bit

  • What is ExperiaSphere? That’s a good question and a surprisingly difficult one to answer, not because ExperiaSphere is vague but because it’s a toolkit. ExperiaSphere is a set of Java classes that can be used to create objects that encapsulate and control service or experience delivery. The primary class is the “Experiam”, which is the thing that does the encapsulating. It’s designed to be used by a Java developer to build applications that, ultimately, can control network and IT resources that make up a modern telecom/networking service. At a project or activity level, ExperiaSphere is an open source project launched by and controlled under the umbrella of CIMI Corporation.

  • Who can participate in ExperiaSphere? At this point, it’s open to anyone who agrees to the basic project terms. See the "Members" tab at the left. We're particularly interested in anyone who can contribute some coding time. Java (J2SE) experience is required.

  • Why did you make this a CDDL versus GPL license? The GPL license does not permit any commercial elements (applications or classes provided for a fee and not open source) to be linked with open source components to create applications. We think that will place too much restriction on developers in the network and services area, and in particular may discourage the cooperation of vendors who have proprietary interfaces or tools already. The CDDL framework lets developers mix open and commercial components.

  • Why isn’t this under a not-for-profit corporate umbrella? Because of cost. We are currently bearing the cost of this activity, and we can’t justify the cost of creating and maintaining a separate business entity. The license sets the terms for ExperiaSphere, and CIMI may make some money consulting on topics related to it, or even offer commercial Experiams for sale, but we won’t make money selling the open source contributions. If somebody wants to sponsor an open source company as an independent entity, we’d be happy to cooperate with them.

  • Why can’t I get source code from the site now? Because we can’t support broad distribution at this early a phase. Open source projects don’t have to distribute source code until they distribute something for use, and we’re still in Alpha One testing, by our terms. We will make the source code available on the site when we first use ExperiaSphere in any public activity, and from that point onward the current version of any “released” pieces will be available. We've established a SourceForge project for ExperiaSphere were source code will reside.

  • What platforms will ExperiaSphere run on? We hope it will run on anything that supports at least J2SE V5. The primary development work so far is running on Eclipse on a Windows platform, but we have just set up a server with Linux and are now working to synch the Windows and Linux development environments. We've tried ExperiaSphere on a laptop and it works there.

  • How do I use ExperiaSphere in my own activities? You download the toolkit (when it’s available) and the examples, and you start writing or assembling stuff. If you’re signed up as a partner in the development process you can already get both the tools and the documentation, which defines not only what is now working but also what is architected in and under development.

  • Why is there an “Abstraction Layer” section on the website? The easiest way to look at what ExperiaSphere can do is to think of it as the framework for what the current standards processes call an “abstraction layer”. Abstraction and decomposition are terms used to describe the representation of service components and resources as a virtual hierarchy. An “Experiam” is an abstraction of a service component or resource commitment. If you activate it, you perform the functions needed to activate the thing it represents.

  • Is this for telcos only? No, abstraction is abstraction. We have already had discussions with one portal vendor on using ExperiaSphere to encapsulate their web services so as to make them available as part of a composed service/resource hierarchy or abstraction. We've also started dialogs with vendors for use of ExperiaSphere in enterprise applications. In theory, you can abstract anything that can be represented as a work-producing object and that can be controlled through an accessible interface or API. You can control hardware, software, and even generate work orders to control manual processes. The applications can be as large as a worldwide network and as small as a single system or even smartphone.

  • Is ExperiaSphere based on standards? It’s a programming toolkit, and so the pat answer is that it supports any standard. In a more helpful sense, Experiams can be linked to any standard interface and most of the standards processes today define protocols and interfaces. An Experiam is a work-producing object, and you can make work requests of it from anywhere as long as you obtain or develop the “Messenger” that talks to that “anywere” in the right language. ExperiaSphere also assumes that external data exchanges are driven by XML documents, so pretty much anything that can talk XML can be linked fairly easily with ExperiaSphere.

  • What is "Alpha-One?" Alpha-One is the first prototype of ExperiaSphere, which includes the ability to create a multi-provider service from a single HTML order, using Yahoo Video Search to identify the source of video information. It is a demonstration of all of the critical NGN Services Architecture elements of ExperiaSphere, and it is one of two critical steps in preparing for our public beta release of code.

  • What is "SocioPATH?" Every communications service has an essential model, a Relationship Framework that defines how it connects its users. For most public services the model is simple and static, and this constrains the services' capabilities. ExperiaSphere's Alpha-Two prototype will include our own social-based Relationship Framework, which we call SocioPATH. SocioPATH is a signaling architecture based on distributed hash tables (DHT), the same stuff that forms the basis of peer-to-peer networking (P2P). Unlike simple P2P models, SocioPATH isn't just about finding some user, it's about knowing all the rules and channels of all user communications, and using that information to create valuable user services.

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