Blog Posts by Jonathan LeBlanc

  • Announcing YAP 2.1 with OpenSocial 0.9 Support

    The launch of version 2.1 of the Yahoo! Application Platform (YAP) introduces significant improvements to integrate OpenSocial 0.9 and the Shindig backbone support into YAP. This upgrade eases the migration of an application from one OpenSocial container to another and greatly reduces the barrier for entry for existing OpenSocial developers.

    Yahoo Application Platform on YDN

    What does the migration to a Gadget XML format mean for my application?

    All existing YAP applications that were built using our old dashboard system will be automatically migrated to the new OpenSocial Gadget XML format. This means that they will continue to run as they do today, without any code changes on your part.

    This upgrade will also let you:

    • modify your application via a gadget XML file hosted on your server
    • take full advantage of the OpenSocial APIs
    • increase your application's portability to other OpenSocial-compliant containers

    Developers will be able to go into the developer dashboard to download the auto-generated XML spec file or

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  • BarCamp Harrisburg


    Harrisburg University
    On April 10th I had a chance to make it out to BarCamp Harrisburg 2 in Pennsylvania. This one was hosted in the illustrious Harrisburg University building and had some great state-of-the-art equipment for all of our geeking needs.

    A few of the sessions

    There were some excellent sessions at the BarCamp — covering everything from social media to exercising via gaming.

    Kris Walker gave us a nice talk on rapid application development with your browser. We looked into the differences between building for closed platforms vs. building for browsers, and how browser-based applications are such a rich medium for standards development. Taking a brief exploration into HTML 5 and the new ECMAScript standard, we broke down into a discussion group talking about the merits of Flash vs. the HTML 5 video tag.

    Following that, we went further on the HTML 5 track where Rich Hauck held a discussion group on what is coming up in HTML 5. Taking points from developers, designers, managers, and marketers,

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  • Building Flickr URLs from YQL results

    Working with the Flickr photo search table within the Yahoo! Query Language (YQL) can make it hard for developers to display the photos. The image URLs have to be put together from different parts returned from the API, such as owner, server, farm, secret, and others. Furthermore, you need to link the images back to the author pages. Here you'll learn how that can be done easily.

    When we use YQL, the structure of results returned by a Flickr photo search contains all the pieces that you will need to generate a whole series of author and photo links with Flickr, but it does not go the extra step of returning these links back to you. For instance, if we run a Flickr photo search query within YQL, the result set that is returned back from YQL from looks something like this:

    Now let's take a look at how to do something with those data pieces.

    Generating an image source

    Using the farm, server, id, and secret parameters from the result set, we can generate an image

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  • An Exploration of HTML 5

    HTML 5 Fist
    Photo from justinsomnia
    Original t-shirt version

    At the conference in Montreal, Quebec, Mark Pilgrim of Google gave an impressive keynote providing an overview of the current state of HTML 5. The information in this post was inspired by his comphehensive talk. Are you wondering what is currently available in HTML 5 and if you can start using it? Take a look at or to get your answer.

    If you take a look at in a browser that supports HTML 5 you'll see that HTML 5 is somewhat ready. That is, some browsers provide some current support for HTML 5. But that shouldn't stop us from playing around with it right?

    HTML5 is a container term used to describe a technology bundle that makes up the new standard. What HTML 5 really encapsulates is HTML 5, CSS 3, and JavaScript all thrown together into the pleasantly marketeering term that is HTML 5. Did you look at those links above in Internet Explorer? Well I'm afraid you're out

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  • Confoo Conference (Montreal, Quebec)

    Last week we were out in Montreal, Quebec for the Conference. This conference tied in many M technology groups under one roof - PHP Québec, Montréal-Python, Montréal on Rails, W3Qc and OWASP Montréal - all congregating at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Montreal. From what they told us, the conference had: 500 session proposals, 100 speakers, 130 sessions, and 250 visitors over a three-day period.

    While I was out there I gave a few presentations on some of the great technology coming out of Yahoo. On Friday I ran through a talk on "Browser MVC with YQL and YUI," highlighting the highly extensible nature of YQL to accept design patterns such as MVC and visualization and controller capabilities built into technologies such as YUI. This is a screencast with the presentation as the audio overlay - if you missed the talk then you can catch it below.

    The other talk I gave (on Wednesday

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  • Report from Miami: YQL Goodness at BarCamp Miami 4 and FOWA Miami 2

    Last week YDN evangelist Jon LeBlanc and I were down in Miami participating in BarCamp Miami and The Future of Web Apps, Miami showing off Yahoo!'s latest and greatest technologies.

    On Sunday, Jon attended the 4th annual BarCamp Miami. There was a mix of about 200 developers as well as business and marketing folk and about 32 presentations throughout the day. Jon delivered a one-hour YQL workshop to a crowd of 40 developers. Overall, this was one of the best BarCamp's YDN has participated in. Many thanks to Alex De Carvalho for organizing the event.

    On Monday we attended the Future of Web Apps beach party at the beautiful Nikki Beach on Ocean Drive. This was an opportunity for sponsors (like us) to setup table-top exhibits, mingle with attendees, and give a 20-minute talk to about 250 attendees. The weather was not great so our beach party turned into an indoor picnic. You can check out Jon's YQL overview slides here.


    Photo credit:FOWA Miami 2010 by Bruno Miranda

    On Tuesday,

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  • Book Review: Building OpenSocial Apps

    When developing applications on a social platform (or container) such as MySpace or the Yahoo! Application Platform, many developers treat the creation of their applications as if it were the Wild West, with no programming rules or best practices. Building on top of a black box environment is not always easy, but just because a container allows you to do something with your application doesn't mean that you should. OpenSocial is a set of standardized methods to access social data from a container (among other things), providing structure to this cross-container development experience and introducing new concepts in professional social application development.

    Don't let the subtitle, "A Field Guide to Working with the MySpace Platform" scare you off. "Building OpenSocial Apps" by Chris Cole, Chad Russell and Jessica Whyte is a wonderful handbook for working within the OpenSocial space. Since the more essential pieces in these development techniques are all standard, we can infer that

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  • Southeast Asia Open Hack Day – Part 2: The Winners

    The Hack Winners

    We had twenty one hacks presented to the judges at the event. After quite a long time for deliberation, the judges came to a consensus on the winners.

    • Honorable Mention: Team Yahuud with the Rendezvoo hack.
      The problem is that in many cases people have trouble setting up events with multiple people over multiple venues and times. This hack looked to provide an interface that would allow a coordinator to suggest multiple venues and times and then would allow participants to vote on one. This hack was not complete, but the judges loved the idea behind it. They won an honorable mention for a great idea and a wonderful PowerPoint presentation.
    • Honorable Mention: Team iTeam with the Mobile Health Surveillance hack.
      This hack attempted to let a user input the outbreaks or symptoms that they are experiencing and receive a diagnosis from other people using the program. This hack had a wonderful idea and we would love to see the outcome of a little bit more time to build
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  • Southeast Asia Open Hack Day Debuts in Jakarta, Indonesia Part 1

    Hackers from around Indonesia and other countries in the region descended upon Jakarta, Indonesia on November 21st and 22nd for the first Southeast Asia (SEA) Open Hack Day.
    The Presentations

    We had many technology sessions running on the first day to showcase some of the great technologies coming out of Yahoo!, including presentations by Yahoo! engineers from the Singapore office and other regions, as well as a home-grown development team at the close.

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  • Auckland, NZ Web Meetup – The Application Platforms

    On November 12th, the Auckland (New Zealand) Web Meetup hosted a few talks focusing on several of the application platforms available on Yahoo!, starting from a product level and driving into more technical depth in the later talk.

    First up on the ballot was Grant Harvison from Frog Prints who talked to us about how he started his company and everything he went through to make it successful. I enjoyed hearing this talk because Grant went into detail about the need to localize your products. Taking a cookie cutter example from another entirely different market and trying to force it into a new mold just doesn't work.

    Grant spoke on how to live to your means during a recession and how to properly invest back into your business. He ended off his talk by discussing the work his company did to build their company presence on Open Mail, targeting an entirely new demographic and audience. I learned something very important here as well: the use of lolcats throughout your presentation

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