Jens de Smit developed a PHP-based POI server for Layar which is called PorPOISe, the Portable Point-of-Interest Server for Layar. Jens is currently working at SURFnet in the Netherlands.
Could you tell us something about your first introduction to Layar?
As part of my job I’m always looking for new technologies which can be useful for our company and our users. We came across Layar and the technology looked very promising to us, so we decided to build our own layer for the eduroam project. The eduroam layer allows users to find eduroam hotspots, which allow students and staff of participating institutions to connect to wireless networks all over the Netherlands.
Why did you create the PorPOISe server for Layar?
Layar provides an interface specification for the client but no reference server. It was my intention to determine how much effort was required for interested parties to get started using Layar. I estimated that a working solution could be realised with only a few hours work, so I simply started from scratch. The end result looked like it could be quickly adapted into a piece of reusable software so I decided to do that and thus PorPOISe emerged.
Why did you share the code and documentation?
SURFnet is not-for-profit but all about stimulating innovation. We try to spread technical knowledge so sharing code and documentation comes very natural to us. As I said, there was no server for Layar openly available so I decided to release mine to the public. I hope this will also help the less experienced developers among us to create their own layers.
Did you expect that many reactions on your PorPOISe server?
I wasn’t aware of the involvement of the developers on the Google Groups when I made PorPOISe public, so I was a little bit surprised at first. I received a lot of positive reactions on my post. The one from James Morley was really nice: it only took him 30 minutes to have a layer up and running after getting PorPOISe.
It’s great to see that there are some very active developers within the community so we can all work on great things and share our knowledge.
Any plans for the future?
We are currently working on a web interface that will make it possible to create your own layers without coding. With this tool, anyone will be able to create and manage a layer.
We would like to thank Jens for his time and of course for sharing the code.