Blog Posts by Havi Hoffman

  • Getting started with the Yahoo! Address Book API

    If there’s one internet application that people use most, it's probably email. However, email is worthless if you don't know where to send your messages and who you’re sending to; this makes the email address book one of the most widely used applications as well. In fact, the Yahoo! Address Book is a gold mine of relationships, connections, and history waiting to be tapped. To unlock that value, we’ve opened the Yahoo! Address Book to third-party developers.

    This tutorial is aimed at helping new developers with a background in PHP get started with the Yahoo! Address Book APIs. I assume no prior knowledge of Yahoo technologies, but I do assume that you are familiar with network programming and understand how HTTP works at a basic level.

    Before you get started, you’ll need an AppID (application identifier) from ( with the correct scope of Address Book Read.
    (Note: Sign up for an AppID at:

    For this tutorial to work, when you obtain your AppID, specify your application entry point to be:

    Substitute your own domain for This structure will help you consolidate your landing pages (for Yahoo! and any other web services you choose) when you start building apps that rely on passing credentials to a receiving web page. The tutorial also assumes that you have access to an installation of PHP4 or PHP5 that is curl -capable.

    When you are done with this tutorial, you should know how to do the following:

    1) Present a user with a signed URL to login and pass user specific credentials back to your application.
    2) Understand how to accept the user credentials and use them to make an authenticated call to the Y! Address Book APIs and get access to their data.
    3) Use the built-in PHP SimpleXML() call to obtain specific fields from the user's address book.

    Charles Wu
    Platform Product Manager

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  • Greetings from 360 Flex

    Editor's note: Greetings from 360 Flex was originally posted on the Yahoo! Flash (R) Blog, which features news and articles on Yahoo! Flash components and libraries.


    The Flash Platform team is hanging out at 360 Flex. On Sunday we had a Yahoo! API hands-on workshop showing how to use some of our most popular components such as ActionScript 3 Maps and the Flex AutoCompleteManager. A few lucky folks won a copy of the beginner’s Flex book Learning Flex 3 by yours truly. For those of you who missed the workshop, we’ll be posting a screencast of that session tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.

    Along those lines, there’s something new this year for those of you who couldn’t attend (or who’d like to review your favorite sessions). The conference is posting videos of the sessions that you can preview and purchase, and over at Ted Patrick’s blog you can view the sessions for free, and in HD, using the Adobe Media Player.

    We’re also hosting an API contest in conjunction with OpenFlux. The winner

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  • MyBlogLog API Personalizes Your WordPress Blog

    Editor's note: This post was originally published on the MyBlogLog Blog.

    Every blogger knows that most of their traffic comes via referrals. Whether it's from a search engine, link from another blog, or via a tinyurl embedded in someone's tweet - readers flow across your site dropping by to graze on something that caught their eye then are off again just as quickly as they came.

    Justforyou2 Various plug-ins are out there to give readers a reason to hang out a bit longer on your site. Some of them present a list of similar posts from your archives, another creates a dynamic list of all-time popular posts so the viewers can browse your greatest hits.

    Yet, none of these add-ons look at the stated interests of the individual reader, mostly because this data is closed off, hidden inside social networks and closed off to the open internet.

    Just for You, released today as a WordPress plug-in, builds a list of headlines based on the expressed interests of the reader. The plug-in looks at each visitor

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  • Gears, BrowserPlus, and Web 3.0, baby

    Speculative tech journalism is wrought with some pretty bone-headed predictions.

    I’m fully aware of that.

    Every time you toss your hat in the ring to offer your opinion, you’re opening yourself up to the possibility of being as wrong as the guy who said, “No one will need more than 637 kb of memory for a personal computer. 640K ought to be enough for anybody.”

    Despite all of that, I’d like to tell you about what the future of the Web will be. What Web 3.0 might look like.

    But first, some context:

    Web 2.0, for all of the nebulously related concepts it represents, was ultimately made possible by Ajax. Asynchronous communication between the browser and servers (a la Ajax) provided the latency needed to recreate the look and feel of a regular desktop application. Not to argue the finer points in this minefield of buzzwords and strong opinions, but the emergence of rich user interaction changed everything. It got people to rethink what a website could be. It was a newer, shinier series of

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  • I CAN HAD OPEN: OAuth First Summit a Hit!

    Editor's note: This post was originally published on hueniverse: thoughts on technology & open standards.

    The first OAuth Summit hosted by Yahoo! last week was a huge success.
    Fifty (!) OAuth community members attended, representing 20 companies, large and small, as well as a couple dedicated individuals. The list of companies represented is extremely gratifying to see
    considering that OAuth remains a community-driven
    effort: Agree2, AOL, BroadOn, Bubble Labs, Eye-Fi, Facebook, Garmin,
    Google, LinkedIn, Ma.gnolia, Microsoft, MySpace, Plaxo, Pownce,
    SafeMashups, Salesforce, Songbird, Veodia, Vidoop,  and Yahoo!.

    The summit would not have been half as good without the help of a few
    individuals. Stacy Milman from Yahoo! Developer Network did an
    outstanding job organizing the event on behalf of our host, setting the
    location, helping with registration, and making sure everything was
    just right. Cindy Li designed our super cool schwag: the OAuth T-shirt
    and stickers
    – look out for the

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  • Monkeying with SEO at SES in Canada

    I'd like to share some highlights from the two-day Search Engine Strategies 2008 Toronto Conference & Expo that took place last week. I was delighted by the opportunity to give a talk on "Web 2.0 and Search Engines." My audience consisted of search engine marketers, sales, strategist, consultants, and engineers. The participants had a common goal: how to maximize search engine optimization -- for themselves and/or their clients.

    Day 1: The keynote delivered by Fredrick Marckini was excellent, with many useful learnings. I also attended a great session called "Universal and Blended Search" session. Key takeaway here for me: Because users spend more time viewing images and video nowadays, SEO involves more than just text and links on the page.

    The "Getting Found in Maps & Local Search" session offered useful information. The materials were not new to me, but that's probably because I'm a local search engineer. The session on "Twitter: Ultimate Time Waster, or Great Tool" was quite

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  • I CAN HAS OPEN: OAuth Summit 2008

    Editor's note: This post was originally published on hueniverse: thoughts on technology & open standards.

    OAuth graphic smallEveryone is talking about Open these days, and it is a very exciting kind of Open. It is the Open that allows developers to utilize the best resources available online and combine them into new and innovative products and experiences. The internet has always maintained a healthy balance allowing users to pick and choose the individual services that suit their needs. What this new Open adds, is the ability to allow new providers to build on top of the existing layer and improve it, rather than have to start from scratch. It also enables users to get more out of their existing online presence, making their digital assets do more for them.

    OAuth, an community-driven open standard was designed to address sharing of resources between services while maintaining full user ownership and privacy. We are all too accustomed by now to being asked for our username and password when joining a

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  • Yahoo! Address Book API Delivered

    We’re excited to announce the public release of the Address Book API. I say public release because while the API is newly launched here on YDN, it’s been up and running with some of the most contact-aware applications on the Internet, including Plaxo and LinkedIn.

    It’s been a long time coming, both for us and for all of you. Yes, we see the question come up often on the ydn-mail: Developer Community group and we’re pleased beyond measure to finally be able release the API.

    This new API provides access to one of the largest collections of address books on the Internet--the contact system behind Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger, and Yahoo! Go. This means your applications already have a built-in audience. The Address Book API supports a wide range of third-party apps, such as sending invitations to seed social networks or social apps, looking up postal addresses for shipping services for online retail, and providing address "auto-complete" for messaging apps.

    The API has extensive search

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  • At the Internet Identity Workshop 2008

    Back in May, a group of Yahoos from the OpenID team attended the 2008 Internet Identity Workshop (IIW), the premier event in the online identity space. Past Internet Identity Workshops have facilitated significant progress in dealing with issues associated with identity and openness, so we were happy to be participating at IIW2008a as a sponsor. Initiatives that have emerged from past IIWs include popularization of OpenID, changes to the OpenID 2.0 protocol to fix a couple of security issues found by Allen Tom, recognition of OAuth as THE standard for delegated auth, and finalization of the
    OpenID 2.0 spec

    Here's a quick summary of Yahoo!’s involvement at the unconference-like IIW2008a (May 12 to May 15), which took place at the Computer History Museum:

    • Yahoo! Developer Network sponsored a pre-dinner reception on the main day of the workshop and distributed the Y! OpenID t-shirts at IIW. Participants loved the shirts!
    • Shreyas Doshi ran a session titled “What to show on an OAuth
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  • A Peek Into Yahoo! BrowserPlus

    browserplus graphic smallThere's been a bit of speculation about BrowserPlus, the mysterious new platform from Yahoo!. Today we remove that veil of mystery to show you directly what it is, what it does, and why we can't wait to hear what you think.

    BrowserPlus is a platform for extending the Web: an end-user installs it and a developer uses its features through a small JavaScript library. Some of the features that exist in the platform today include:

    • Drag-and-drop from the desktop
    • Client-side image manipulation (cropping, rotation & filters)
    • Desktop notifications

    The most unique attribute of BrowserPlus is its ability to update and add new services on the fly without a browser restart or even reloading the page! For users, this means no more interruptions or installers to run. We handle the complexity of software distribution and updates. For developers, it means you can check for and activate new services with a single function call (pending user approval, of course). BrowserPlus is dynamic,

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