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Peer-to-Peer Programming on Groove®

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Peer-to-Peer Programming on Groove®


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  • Copyright 2002
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-672-32332-X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-672-32332-4

In October of 1997, Ray Ozzie, creator of Lotus Notes, began development of Groove. Groove is a peer-to-peer application platform for building and deploying peer-to-peer applications. Because Groove takes care of the underlying connectivity and synchronization issues, developers can concentrate on creating applications in the peer-to-peer space. While the technology under the hood of Groove is cutting-edge and somewhat daunting, the actual process of creating applications is approachable for advanced beginner or intermediate programmers.

The book is organized by first to actually produce and deploy peer-to-peer applications. After exploring the Groove platform. Next, the reader is eased into application development by customizing Groove with a "skin." This exercise will demonstrate how XML and external resources are used in Groove, and will detail a step that the reader will probably want to take for each application developed and deployed.

The first tutorial will begin the creation of a peer-to-peer trivia game application, and will address User Interface (UI), persistence and dissemination issues. This part will require hand-coding of the XML for both understanding and experience. The completion of the second part will result in a working peer-to-peer application, a simple trivia game. Next, we will discuss some advanced topics that deal with administration and database integration. These topics address features provided in the premium version of Groove. Finally, we will include some comments about the future of peer-to-peer and the opportunities it creates for our readers.

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Exploring the Groove Application

Table of Contents


1. Why Peer-to-Peer?

A Short History.

Dynamic IP Addresses and NAT.

Client/Server Applications.

Peer-to-Peer Versus Client/Server Applications.

A Tour of the Peer-to-Peer Landscape.

Distributed Processing.

Distributed Storage Services.

Distributed Network Services.

Decentralized Collaboration.


2. What Is Groove?

In the Beginning.

Stealth Mode.

Ease of Use.

What It Is.


Mix, Match, and Customize.

Example: Great Schools Now, Inc.

Example: American Wooden Widgets.

How to Think.

3. Exploring the Groove Application.

Installing Groove.

Creating an Account.

About Identities.

Multiple Devices.

Creating a Shared Space.

Adding Tools.

Deleting a Shared Space.

Inviting Others.

Issuing an Invitation.

Receiving Invitations.

Shared Space Members.

Groove Tools.

Calendar Tool.

Contact Manager.

Discussion Tool.

Files Tool.

Outline Tool.

Pictures Tool.

Notepad Tool.

Sketchpad Tool.

Web Browser.


4. Understanding Groove Architecture.

The Model-View-Controller Structure.

The Groove Structure.

The Shared Space.

Groove Platform Services.

Account and Identity Services.

UI Services.

Component Services.

Shared Space Services.

Dynamics Services.

Communications Subsystem.

Storage and XML Services.

Security Manager.

Web Services.

Customer Services Subsystem.


5. Essential XML.

XML History.

Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML).



What XML Is.

An XML Document.




XML Schema.


Building a Schema.

Groove's Use of XML.

Groove Schemas.


6. Essential OSD.

The History of OSD.

Microsoft's OSD Specification.

Groove's Use of OSD.

The Groove Manifest.

Writing an OSD File.

The Groove Manifest.

The Model Changes.


Groove Assembly Files.

Thinking in OSD.


7. Creating a Groove Development Environment.

The DevZone.

The GDK.

Development Account.

Supplemental Applications.

Specialized Groove Tools.

The Groove Database Navigator Tool.

The Tool Creator and Groove Tool Publisher Tools.

Registry Files.




The Plan.

Groove Tool Development.

Tool Template Development.

Publishing Your Tool.


8. Customizing Groove.

Groove Skins.

Getting Ready.

Modifying the Images.

Image Editing.

Understanding the Changes.

Changing TransceiverWindowBackground.jpg.

Changing the Look of Buttons.


Publishing a Skin.

Creating the Descriptor File.

Creating the Injector File.

Testing Injection.

The Transceiver Template.


9. Building a Basic Groove Tool.

Tool Templates.

View Container Components.

UI Components.

Engine Component.

Glue Code Components.

Creating a Tool Template Skeleton.

The ToolTemplate Element.

ComponentGroup Elements.

The Layout.

The Button.

The Engine Component.

The Glue Code.

The Completed Skeleton.


Creating the Layout.

The TitleLabel Component.

The QuestionLabel Component.

The AnswerLabel Components.

The Elapsed Time Components.

The NextQuestionButton Component.

The Glue Code.

The Finished Tool.


The PropertyList.

Setting the Question and Answer Labels.

Changing Labels.

Elapsed Time.

Handling Multiple Guesses.

The Revised Tool.


Initialization Code.

The OnPropertyChanged Function.

Synchronizing Screens.

A Few Tweaks.


10. Publishing a Basic Groove Tool.


Writing the Files.

Creating a Tool Descriptor.

Creating Your OSD.

Creating the .GRV.

Testing and Troubleshooting.


11. Easier Groove: The Tool Creator and Tool Publisher.

Tool Creator.


Tool Creation.

Tool Modification.

Overlay a Tool.

View Source.

Tool Publisher.



Publishing a Tool.


12. Easier Groove: Modifying the Basic Groove Tool with Tool Creator and Tool Publisher.

The Welcome Screen.

Adding a Layout.

Adding a Graphic.

Adding a Title Element.

Adding Two Buttons.

The Add Questions Screen.

Adding Components.

Adding the DataViewer.

Viewing the Layout.

Changing Screens.

Code for Entering Questions.

The Play Trivia Screen.

Publishing TriviaQuiz.

Taking It to the Web.


13. Data Integration and Groove Bots.

Data Integration and Groove.



Groove Enterprise Integration Server.

Data Integration, Bots, and TriviaQuiz.

Using a Bot with TriviaQuiz.


14. Advanced Topics.

More About OSD.

Managing the Component Tree Structure.


Major and Minor Versions.

Roles and Permissions.

Tool-Level Access Control.

Adding Help.


Using Subforms.


15. The Future of Peer-to-Peer.

The Killer App.

Peer-to-Peer Challenges.

Potential Growth Areas for Peer-to-Peer.


Knowledge Portals.

Supply Chain Coordination.

Distributing Clinical Information.

Online Bill Payment.

Document Management.

Real-Time Searching.

Real-Time Collaborative Publishing.


The Microsoft/Groove Partnership.

Features of the Killer App.

Is There a Killer App?

Appendix A. Groove Template Component Reference.























Appendix B. Glossary.

Appendix C. Complete Trivia Quiz Code.

Index. 067232332XT03252002


The Internet Web site webopedia.internet.com defines peer-to-peer architecture as "A type of network in which each workstation has equivalent capabilities and responsibilities. This differs from client/server architectures, in which some computers are dedicated to serving the others." But peer-to-peer is much more than a technology; it represents a radical change in how we will soon use our computers. It is, all at once, a revolution, an evolution, and a revision.

It is a revolution because it turns today's current client/server architecture on its ear. Suddenly, we're all producers of information as well as mere consumers.

Peer-to-peer computing is also a cultural revolution. Peer-to-peer technology will fundamentally change the way small groups work and interact over the Internet. By making it easy to find and download music over the Web, Napster not only has shown how fragile intellectual property rights of digital material are, but has probably affected the business model of the major media players, too.

It is an evolution because the current state of software engineering makes possible distributed processing and storage across personal computers, as well as the first attempts to provide an operating system for the Internet.

It is a revision because, in the early days of the Internet, peer-to-peer is how all computers were interconnected. The rise of the Web, with millions of people surfing, engaging in e-commerce, and downloading streaming video, made client/server architecture a really good idea.

About Groove

Groove is an application that uses the Internet to make direct connections between members of a group. That group can consist of friends, family, co-workers, or any collection of people who want to communicate, solve problems, or work on a common task. Some of the functions of Groove let you talk, chat, send instant messages, draw pictures, share photos and files, play games, and browse the Web with other members of your group. With Groove, you communicate within secure, shared virtual spaces, in real-time, or in different places at different times. In addition, Groove is a platform that allows you to create, deploy, and run your own peer-to-peer applications.

At the time of this writing, Groove runs only on PCs running the Windows operating system. These are the minimum requirements for installing and running Groove:

  • A 233MHz Pentium processor or equivalent
  • 64MB of RAM
  • 40MB of available hard disk storage
  • A 56kbps modem (DSL or cable modem preferred)
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or greater (IE 5.0 or greater recommended)
  • A sound card, speakers, and microphone, for using the voice features
  • Updated minimum requirements are posted at www.groove.net/downloads/groove.

Who Should Read This Book

This book is intended for those who want to develop peer-to-peer applications in Groove. The skills required to develop Groove applications include an understanding of the peer-to-peer paradigm, a working knowledge of extensible Markup Language (XML), familiarity with Open Software Description (OSD), and the ability to understand programming in JavaScript. Only the programming skill will be assumed--this book will help the reader develop the remaining skills. Information on these skills will be presented before Groove tool development is presented. The material is slanted toward intermediate programmers and advanced beginners but should be useful for advanced programmers with little prior knowledge of the peer-to-peer space.

How the Book Is Structured

The following 15 chapters give advanced beginner or intermediate programmers all the necessary background needed to understand the peer-to-peer paradigm, the Groove application, Groove architecture, XML, and OSD, as well as the ability to program and deploy an application on the Groove peer-to-peer platform:

  • Chapter 1, "Why Peer-to-Peer?" explores the historical roots of peer-to-peer applications and discusses why peer-to-peer will be even more important in the future. Peer-to-peer applications are contrasted with client/server applications, highlighting strengths and weaknesses for various tasks.
  • Chapter 2, "What Is Groove?" touches on the history of Groove--why and how it was developed. It describes the product and presents a case study of its use to solve an actual business problem. The chapter concludes showing why Groove is particularly useful to intermediate programmers or advanced beginners wanting to program in the peer-to-peer space.
  • Chapter 3, "Exploring the Groove Application," exposes you to the Groove application. Detailed instructions for installing the application from the CD and a tour of Groove features let readers have the opportunity to experience peer-to-peer interaction. You will see and use some Groove tools similar to the ones you will soon be building.
  • In Chapter 4, "Understanding Groove Architecture," you learn the concept of a shared space and the function of the Groove transceiver. The underlying services that take care of security, persistence, and dissemination of data are explored so that you'll understand what services Groove provides. Component services are particularly covered so that you'll know how versioning and automatic dissemination of Groove tools--including tools you may build--takes place.
  • Chapter 5, "Essential XML," presents the basics of XML as they relate to Groove operation and tool development.
  • Chapter 6, "Essential OSD," explores the concept of Open Software Description. OSD provides an XML-based vocabulary for describing software packages and their interdependencies. With OSD, Groove provides the means for extending and updating the Groove application, including tools like the ones you will develop. Writing OSD is an essential step of tool development in Groove.
  • Chapter 7, "Creating a Groove Development Environment," assists you in configuring your machines to easily develop Groove tools without affecting their capability to use Groove. You will verify that you have the applications you need to program Groove tools. All necessary applications are either included in system software or freely downloadable from the Net. Next, you'll learn how to reconfigure Groove to be able to safely build tools. Finally, we will walk you through the installation of the Groove Development Kit (GDK) and explore its contents.
  • Chapter 8, "Customizing Groove," gives you the opportunity to create your own Groove skin. Creating a skin provides an easy entry into many of the concepts needed to develop Groove tools.
  • In Chapter 9, "Building a Basic Groove Tool," a short discussion of the steps and elements needed to develop a Groove tool is followed by a step-by-step tutorial. The tutorial begins the creation of a peer-to-peer trivia game tool, and addresses User Interface (UI), persistence, and dissemination issues. This part requires hand-coding of the XML for both understanding and experience.
  • After an exploration of the tool descriptor, OSD, and .GRV files, Chapter 10, "Publishing a Basic Groove Tool," is a step-by-step tutorial on publishing the tool created in the preceding chapter.
  • Chapter 11, "Easier Groove: The Tool Creator and Tool Publisher," introduces two tools supplied by Groove to make creating and publishing tools easier. You use these tools to finish the trivia game application.
  • Chapter 12, "Easier Groove: Modifying the Basic Groove Tool with Tool Creator and Tool Publisher," is a tutorial that uses Tool Creator and Tool Publisher to modify and extend the trivia game tool and to republish it.
  • Chapter 13, "Data Integration and Groove Bots," is a study of data integration in Groove through connectors and Groove bots. Data integration extends the reach of Groove tools by allowing them to connect with external information and applications resources. The chapter also covers some of the features and capabilities of bots and the Groove Enterprise Integration Server.
  • Chapter 14, "Advanced Topics," continues the ongoing discussion of OSD, particularly redirection and directory structure strategies, and introduces some of the advanced features found in Groove. We explore Groove versioning and its implications for writing tools, and then talk about how to add roles and permissions to your tools, and how to provide overview and context help. We finish by talking about subforms and how they can be used.
  • In Chapter 15, "The Future of Peer-to-Peer," we make some guesses about how peer-to-peer applications will develop in the years to come, and examine the opportunities that will arise for peer-to-peer application programmers.

If you're ready, let's get started!



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