The first step in preparing to use Google Wave is to get a handle on the terms associated with the technology. It is especially important to understand that communication occurs within a Wave and the item that each person contributes to a discussion is called a Blip.
Review the Wave Terminology from the Google Wave Community to better understand common terms. Some terms have been pulled from the site and presented below.
- A wave is a threaded conversation, consisting of one or more participants (which may include both human participants and robots). The wave is a dynamic entity which contains state and stores historical information. A wave is a living thing, with participants communicating and modifying the wave in real time. A wave serves as a container for one or more wavelets.
- A wavelet is a threaded conversation that is spawned from a wave (including the initial conversation). Wavelets serve as the container for one or more messages, known as blips. The wavelet is the basic unit of access control for data in the wave. All participants on a wavelet have full read/write access to all of the content within the wavelet. As well, all events that occur within the Google Wave APIs operate on wavelet level or lower.
- A blip is the basic unit of conversation and consists of a single messages which appears on a wavelet.
Blips may either be drafts or published (by clicking "Done" within the Wave client).
Blips manage their content through their document.
Blips may also contain other blips as children, forming a blip hierarchy. Each wavelet always consists of at least one root blip.
- A gadget is a small application that runs within a client. The gadget is owned by the wave, and all participants on a wave share the same gadget state. The only events a gadget responds to are changes to its own state object, and changes in the wave's participants (for example, participants joining or leaving the wave).
The gadget has no influence over the wave itself. Wave gadgets typically aren't full blown applications, but small add-ons that improve certain types of conversations.
Example: a wave might include a sudoku gadget that lets the wave participants compete to see who can solve the puzzle first.
- A roBOT is an automated participant on a wave.
Robots are applications which run in the "cloud" and can modify state within the wave itself.
A robot can read the contents of a wave in which it participates, modify the wave's contents, add or remove participants, and create new blips and new waves.
Robots perform actions in response to events.
Example: a robot might publish the contents of a wave to a public blog site and update the wave with user comments.