Live Blog – Dion Hinchcliffe on Next Gen Apps

One man, one very long powerpoint. Still interesting facts and stories can overcome the inefficiencies of 8 gillion words on each slide.

On to the story:

Dion Hinchliffe – Speaker – Next Gen Apps

Links: summary, reviews, personal blog, slideshare (not including this presentation)

API

API’s. The world of the interwebs is being taken over by them. The most common distribution methods for these open API’s are (1) RSS, (2) REST, (3) JSON, (4) SOAP.  An API is:

  • An interface for letting a program communicate with another program.
  • Interface that enables one program to use facilities provided by another,
  • The specific method prescribed by a computer operating system or by another application program by which a programmer writing an application program can make requests of the operating system or another application.

So, as you can tell an API is pretty complicated. The version we are talking about is an Open API. Which basically means you give out your data. You give up control of your data for a greater gain. When you do so, many things can happen. The current success stories for this new method are web platforms where folks interact with the site, share with it, link to it, and more. Dion, now dives into that.

Of these API’s RSS is by far the most popular. Althoug, the more complicated (sophisticated uses for) version is REST and is generally considered, as stated by Dion to be “the best practice” one in the community

  1. RSS – its a news feed. It sends you new things (news, photos, videos, etc.) whenever they are posted. The basic function is for a site to offer this service and a customer to subscribe to it. In the middle are several clients that read them, sites to store them, and much more “middlemen”.
  2. REST – “an approach for getting information content from a Web site by reading a designated Web page that contains an XML file that describes and includes the desired content. For example, REST could be used by an online publisher to make syndicated content available. Periodically, the publisher would prepare and activate a Web page that included content and XML statements that described the content. Subscribers would need only to know the URL for the page…”
  3. JSON – “a lightweight data-interchange format. It is easy for humans to read and write. It is easy for machines to parse and generate. It is based on a subset of the JavaScript Programming Language.”
  4. SOAP – “a way for a program running in one kind of operating system…to communicate with a program in the same or another kind of an operating system…by using HTTP and XML as the mechanisms for information exchange.”

Widgets

Using an API to build a platform…use widgets. Widgets allow others to take your content and put into a nifty little box on some other site. These boxes are very cutesy and usable, the web loves them. Each user of this box counts as a customer for you, even though they may never visit your site, just use your widget.

Mash-up

Originally a term used by musicians to combine different music genres. Now, in “technology, a mashup is a web application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool; an example is the use of cartographic data from Google Maps to add location information to real-estate data from Craigslist, thereby creating a new and distinct web service that was not originally provided by either source.” [1]

AJAX

This is the new fab. It is the darling of the web world and for good reason. “Ajax (sometimes called Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is a way of programming for the Web that gets rid of the hourglass.” Designed to provide rich websites with incredible speed, the example provided on this link talks about, Google Maps. Stating that you should “try out Google Maps for a few seconds. Scroll around and watch as the map updates almost before your eyes. There is very little lag and you don’t have to wait for pages to refresh or reload.”

Recommendations

  • Learn the business of web (i.e. attend his talks).
  • Study the competition (and then one-up them)
  • Really get to know your customers (they are in your backyard, go have a chat and/or spy from the upstairs window)
  • Fundamentals (what are they? ask your customers…)
  • Be open to the latest tools (as soon as the new iPhone comes out buy it!)

Analysis

Great overview. He goes really quick, but takes the time to explain everything. I would still like to see the fundamentals continually presented throughout the presentation. This is a lot to take in and its not about just learning every programming language. Its more about the fundamentals and concepts of this new technology.  I would like to see someone think deeply about what the core fundamentals are and then provide a presentation that fits everything into those core concepts.

My Community

Many thanks to Stowe Boyd, Lars Trieloff and Emily Chang for this post.

Inspiration strikes in the weirdest places and for the weirdest reasons….I’m at an Enterprise 2.0 conference (E2.0) talking about the development of Web 2.0 and what happens? I get inspired to start an art blog. Who knew…

But thanks to the power of laptops (which I can’t stress enough: “everyone needs a laptop”), networking, and the intertron, inspiration has come. Let me tell you how this happened and maybe give you a little insight into the world of Web 2.0.

On day one of the conference I had lunch with Lars and he introduced me to Roller. A blog software that can host multiple blogs. One of my holy grails for blogging. Allowing you to build a community around your blogs and avoid the mass crowds on the popular sites. I hope to eventually use this to unite my multiple blogs together.

Next, I saw a presentation at E2.0 called “Social = Me First” by Stowe. It was a really good presentation that covers the philosophy of this movement, but I was really interested in something else. I wanted to know what is next? (blogs and wikis are already years old after all). Stowe’s answer was “flow app’s“. I delved into them a little bit and it appears that he is right. (sorry, but explaining more would only cloud up this little narrative and I haven’t gotten my brain around in yet, so click the link for more).

Learning about flow app’s led me to Emily’s site. She has created a myriad of sites, including ones for reviews of web 2.0 technology, a personal blog, an art blog, and a flickr profile. Bang, that is where inspiration struck. I am used to single sites like MySpace, where you have one huge page for all of your interests. Emily has taken that a step further establishing multiple sites where each one utilizes different aspects of the web and social dynamics. For example, her flickr account is just for her pictures and other pictophiles, and then on her artcodes blog she hosts individual photos that express some artistic interest.

It is this online portfolio or personal ecosystem that I like. In fact, what struck gold with me is the way that I can take previously personal and private interests and get them published. I can carve out my own home on the web, except instead of it being a homepage it is now a diverse ecosystem where my thoughts and interests can interact with millions of other folks worldwide.

Getting to those millions is the next step…maybe I will start with just bugging my girlfriend to visit them for now….

For those of you new to the web 2.0 world, these tools are easily available, mostly free, and easy to use. If you are interested here are some good ones: flickr, picasa, blogger, vox, 1& 1.