Blog Posts by Jonathan LeBlanc

  • BarCamp Miami – Geeking out in the sun

    BarCamp Miami Board
    Sunday, February 21st, 2009 - In the early morning heat of Coconut Grove, Florida, developers and enthusiasts alike met at Anokha Bar on Virginia Street for BarCamp Miami. This was the first BarCamp that I have attended, and I must say that this type of event is true to its California roots, and was the best structured chaos I have seen in quite a long time. The venue was split up into a series of spaces with projectors, as well as two conference rooms at the hotel across the street. Upon entering the event, we were met with a large whiteboard split up into 30 minute time slots with a series of post-its all over it displaying the different talks you could attend.

    I must say, this thing moved fast...I was jumping around from room to room all day to catch the different talks I was interested in. I decided to follow a track focusing on the social space...just because I'm such a social kind of guy. Let me tell you about some of my favorite talks:

    Top 10 advanced strategies for social

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  • Open in Asia

    Where Sunnyvale hosts a 24-hour hack-a-thon, the Yahoo! Taiwan office hosts an entire week to celebrate the new open vision of Yahoo!. Of course, they develop a bunch of great hacks while they’re at it - because what YDN event would be complete without some hardcore hacking.

    The first part of Asia Open Week was an internal application development contest for Yahoo! engineers, where developers from the Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and Australia offices worked diligently to create apps that consumed our public APIs, services, and platforms, including, but not limited to, YAP, Open Mail, and Blueprint. Before the hacks began, presentations were delivered on topics such as an introduction to Y!OS, a deep technical dive into YAP, and overviews of Open Mail and Blueprint. Developers then had about a day or so of development time to get everything completed and ready for judging. We saw impressive applications from the different offices, with winners in different categories for the different

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  • OpenSocial Turns One!

    We're on site at the MySpace office in San Francisco for the OpenSocial first birthday celebration. Presentations were given by social networking application development companies such as RockYou, containers (websites which integrate an application development interface to allow user-built applications) such as Yahoo!, Linkedin, Orkut, and Hi5 as well as official talks from Google and MySpace on some of the standards.

    As the OpenSocial developer community grows its base among official containers and independent application developers, the main focus for the future of OpenSocial is to encourage all individuals, regardless of company affiliation, to contribute to the community as a whole. At today's event we saw the true meaning of open and social, where companies who've traditionally been at odds are sharing impressive technologies. Competitors are allowing open access to their platforms and tools with the hope of delivering an ungated community for developers and all users as a

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  • The Art of Capacity Planning – A Developer’s Book Review

    Recently I had the chance to read through "The Art of Capacity Planning" by John Allspaw (Engineering Manager, Operations at Flickr). To be honest, I thought I would be poring through mathematical theory on the implementation of capacity planning in this book, logging facts and high-level theory into my head but only retaining half or less of it. I was happily surprised that I was completely wrong.

    This book ran through the practical implementation of capacity planning from an operations point of view, pointing out commonsense solutions to real-world problems using practical examples from Flickr and other companies along the way. I want to reiterate the "commonsense" portion of my last statement. John is clear to state that many times the easiest solutions are the best. This may be commonsense for everyone, but how many of us actually use this approach? Most of the time, whether in operations, software engineering, or website development, I see engineers take an approach that

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  • Using Flash to increase social networking application portability

    It’s no secret that each of the major social networking containers implements its own set of rules for how developers can interact with its applications. Even OpenSocial-compliant containers usually don’t implement the full standards body. This usually gives developers additional concerns when it comes time to migrate their application to another container.

    Flash is an excellent medium for building high-animation interactive components and decreasing the time that you, the developer, will have to spend adjusting your app to get it working perfectly for a new container. In this case, we used Yahoo!'s ASTRA Flash components to replace some of our graphing components. We passed a JSON string to the Flash object, used a JSON serialization library to parse the data, and then used those data structures to build out our components.

    We wanted to display a graph detailing positive versus negative voting with an overall vote line running through the middle. Below is a stripped version of the

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  • Social Networking Application Portability -– What We Learned the Hard Way

    One of the major initiatives within the partner integration group of the Yahoo! Developer Network is to explore new technologies and methods for improving upon existing application development structures. This technology exploration is used to enhance products and services that we build for our partners in order to provide the richest overall user experience we can offer.

    Our most recent endeavor focused on social networking application development. More specifically, we wanted to assess the levels of support offered by the leading OpenSocial containers for raw JavaScript (JS), YUI, the OpenSocial JS API, RESTful back-end architectures, and cross-platform (e.g. MySpace to YAP, MySpace to Orkut) code portability.

    To this end, we created a JS-driven front-end and a RESTful web-service for our database and developed and deployed our application on MySpace. The web service layer was used to facilitate communication with our MySQL database but all of the application structure and user

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