Blog Posts by Micah Laaker

  • Zynga titles to launch on Yahoo!’s developer platforms

    Zynga logoYahoo! and social game powerhouse Zynga (maker of hits like Farmville, Mafia Wars, and Zynga Poker) have just announced a platform-level integration with Yahoo!. In particular, Zynga will deeply integrate its apps across Yahoo!, developing code against our Application Platform (YAP), Yahoo! Query Language (YQL), and our Connect program (Sign in through Yahoo! + Yahoo! Social APIs such as Yahoo! Updates). All of this will help to optimize Yahoo!’s distribution channels in ways with which other developers can also take advantage.

    As part of this initiative, Yahoo! will be developing a new suite of notification channels throughout Yahoo! and continuing to promote developers' distribution of social activities via Yahoo! Updates. Both the Social APIs and YAP will also allow them to easily tap into Yahoo! user identities (including the aggregated identities we’re enabling across our network), share to Yahoo! Updates, and automatically leverage these new notification channels. (We’ll be

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  • The Yahoo! Firehose: Get access to our public Updates activity stream

    The Yahoo! Developer Network is excited to announce the initial release of the Yahoo! Updates Firehose service. The Updates Firehose is a web service for accessing and searching the full, real-time index of Yahoo! Updates.

    Yahoo! Updates aggregates social updates from Yahoo! and across the Web: It includes a real-time feed of every public action taken on our network (such as the 45,000+ comments on the News story about the Healthcare reform bill recently passed in Congress) and elsewhere around the Web that users have authorized Yahoo! to make available. From these, the Firehose feed aggregates activities, including:

    • 750,000+ ratings a day (including those from Yahoo! News, Buzz, Movies, Travel, TV and more),
    • 8,000+ reviews a day (including Yahoo! Local, Shopping, Cricket, Travel and more),
    • 150,000+ comments/day (including Yahoo! News, Buzz, Sports, OMG stories and more),
    • status updates,
    • Flickr uploads,
    • Delicious bookmarking,
    • Open App activity,
    • YouTube favoriting,
    • Last.fm
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  • Build a Better App

    With the ability now to publish any application on the Yahoo! homepage via the Yahoo! Application Platform (YAP), we've received numerous requests on what guidelines and best practices developers should follow to increase their chance of promotion and exposure to all Yahoo! users.

    To help, we've published a set of Best Practices for Application development here on YDN. The guide is comprised of seven sections, each containing links to live Apps demonstrating these principles:

    1. Helping Users Discover Your Application
      Yahoo! is a big place, so be sure to maximize your App's reach across the network: leverage Yahoo!'s sharing components; describe your App (and yourself) in a clear, differentiated manner; promote the App on your site, Twitter stream, Facebook fan page, etc.; and provide a signed-out experience so that the largest potential userbase can fall in love with your App.
    2. Providing a Better Initial Experience
      Regardless of your App's function, be sure to provide some level of utility
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  • Interview with Shifd Creators: Nick Bilton and Michael Young, Pt. II

    At our recent London Hack Day, Nick Bilton and Michael Young of the New York Times Research & Development Lab walked away with the top award ("Best Overall Hack") for their mobile/desktop synchronization and toggling solution: Shifd.

    In the second part of this interview, we followed up with these two to talk a bit more about their solution, how they conceived and executed it, what's next for Shifd, and more.

    Q: Shifd was one of the few specifically Mobile-focused applications we saw at this Hack Day. What design considerations did you make based on your past usage of mobile devices?

    Mobile devices in general have terrible user interface and even worse browser specifications, and because of both of these problems, people really don't understand how to create or design content for these devices. It's apparent that mobile devices are really important in our life as you can see from the hoopla that arrived with the iPhone. We really aimed to make the design and User Interface simple,

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  • Interview with Shifd Creators: Nick Bilton and Michael Young, Pt. I

    At our recent London Hack Day, Nick Bilton and Michael Young of the New York Times Research & Development Lab walked away with the top award ("Best Overall Hack") for their mobile/desktop synchronization and toggling solution: Shifd.

    In the first part of this interview, we followed up with these two to talk a bit more about their backgrounds, what's next from the Times R&D Lab, what lured them to Hack Day and more.

    Q: Can you give us a little background info on yourselves?

    Nick Bilton: I'm an Art Director, User Interface Designer, Technologist, Writer, Video Journalist, Photographer, Nick-of-all-trades... Master of some. I've also got a bit of a problem with gadgets, and have been known to wait outside in the cold at 6 a.m. to acquire new releases of certain products. I've worked in numerous different industries within the contexts of design and technology. Currently my time is shared between The New York Times newspaper where I'm involved in special editorial projects and the visual

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