Google open sources XML alternative Protocol Buffers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google on Monday said that it has created an open-source project for a data interchange format called Protocol Buffers.

The software is meant to solve the problem of sharing information in a wide range of formats between servers at high speed. It’s also designed to let companies like Google upgrade software on a network of connected servers without causing hiccups.

Google thought of using XML as a lingua franca to send messages between its different servers. But XML can be complicated to work with and, more significantly, creates large files that can slow application performance.

Protocol Buffers is an alternative way of describing the format of data that is being sent over the network or stored to a hard drive. Unlike XML, it’s a compact format and is designed to be simple to use, according to Kenton Varda, from Google’s Software Engineering Team.

Varda wrote in the company’s open-source blog:

Protocol Buffers allow you to define simple data structures in a special definition language, then compile them to produce classes to represent those structures in the language of your choice. These classes come complete with heavily-optimized code to parse and serialize your message in an extremely compact format. Best of all, the classes are easy to use: each field has simple “get” and “set” methods, and once you’re ready, serializing the whole thing to - or parsing it from - a byte array or an I/O stream just takes a single method call.

Matt Cutts, a software engineering from Google’s Webspam team, said that Protocol Buffers automatically generates Java, Python, or C code.

Microsoft To Ship SP3 Of Windows XP Via Windows Update

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft on Monday sent out a reminder that it would distribute a new version of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP through its Automatic Update service “shortly.”

Nick MacKechnie, senior technical account manager at Microsoft New Zealand, said in a company blog post that if IT administrators wanted to prevent the automatic installation then they should download and deploy the Windows Service Pack Blocker Kit from the company’s online download center, or deploy update management software that provides full control over updates deployed to computers on a network.

Video-game news: Best of 2008, so far

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

E3, the video-game industry’s big trade show, is next week, and you’ll be hearing a lot about all the new software coming between now and Christmas. But there’s a bit of a lull until Aug. 12, when “Madden NFL 09″ unofficially marks the beginning of the fall game season. July is a good time to catch up on some of the games you may have missed. Here are the best of the year so far:

1. “Grand Theft Auto IV” (Rockstar, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3): The latest episode of “GTA” has its flaws, particularly in the storytelling department. But living a life of crime has never been more fun, thanks to much tighter gameplay and an exquisitely detailed vision of a decaying metropolis.

2. “Lost Odyssey” (Microsoft, for the Xbox 360): The epic tale of immortal mercenary Kaim is a delight for fans of classic role-playing games.

3. “The World Ends With You” (Square Enix, for the Nintendo DS): This adventure set in modern Tokyo is the most innovative RPG in years.

4. “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots” (Konami, for the PS3): It may be more of a movie than a game, but it’s a dazzling finale for one of gaming’s most fascinating sagas.

5. “Professor Layton and the Curious Village” (Nintendo, for the DS): Charming characters wrestle with clever puzzles in this beautifully written and illustrated gem.

And the worst? So many terrible games have been rushed out for Nintendo’s Wii that it’s hard to pick on just one. I’ll go with Konami’s “Target: Terror,” which combines repetitive gameplay, hideous graphics and laughable acting in a package that’s so bad it’s almost … well, no, it’s just awful.

Pioneer says to launch Blu-ray recorders this year

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Japanese consumer electronics maker Pioneer Corp said on Tuesday it plans to launch Blu-ray DVD recorders by the end of the year, taking aim at a rapidly growing market after the end of a bitter format battle.

Pioneer is developing Blu-ray recorders with help from Sharp Corp Pioneer’s top shareholder with a 14 percent stake. Sharp already offers Blu-ray recorders.

Pioneer plans to start selling Blu-ray recorders in Japan before the year-end shopping season, followed by overseas launches.

The selling price and unit sales target have yet to be set, a Pioneer spokesman said.

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