Blog Posts by Tom Hughes-Croucher

  • YQL gets personal URLs and more cache control

    The new YQL release today introduces a couple new features that have been requested at some external presentations of YQL and also on our forums.

    YQL URLs can be a bit cumbersome, especially when you've got a large query. This makes them difficult to share. Their meanings can be obscure when you are trying to decode that escaped "q" parameter in your head. So we've added two new tables: yahoo.queries and yahoo.queries.query. These two tables enable you to create nice looking query alias URLs, like this: The general syntax looks like:[useralias]/[queryalias]?[querypa


    is something that belongs to you, the developer. Mine, for example, is "jonathan". [queryalias] is the alias name for the query you want to run (the q= part of the normal call). [queryparams] are the usual

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  • Notes from PHP Conference Brazil

    The Brazil Scene

    Brazil is a pretty amazing place. When I moved to San Francisco from London, I thought California was as warm as it got -- I was wrong. A solid 30C (90F) was a good way to start and I quickly learned to shed my jeans in the humid heat. The laid back climate explains the friendly faces of the developer community I met. What a wonderful welcome.

    Brazil, and particularly Sao Paulo, has a great developer scene. I met a lot of super-smart people. In a country with a young high-tech industry, there were a surprising amount of incredibly savvy developers. Laptops in Brazil seem to cost about 60% more than in the USA which might explain why there are less of them around.

    I was very impressed by the amount of technical stuff conducted in Portuguese. In fact, for most of the conference, I was at a loss. Only the people from outside Brazil did their sessions in English. I think this is both a blessing and a curse. It's wonderful to see such a vibrant local community, thriving

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  • All the magic of JavaScript, all the cool of Berlin

    I just want to say something upfront. This post is full of superlatives, but that's just how JSConf was, and frankly it deserves every one.

    Earlier this year we raved about the first JSConf that happened in Washington DC. Well, they took the format over Atlantic to Germany and last week JSConf was back as strong as ever. As a front-end engineer, JSConf continues to be one of my all-time favourite conferences.

    Where to start describing it? Let's take a look at the line-up; Doug Crockford, John Resig, Dion Almaer, Thomas Fuchs... add representatives and users from every major library to these industry leaders and you've got a heck of a mix. One of the things I really enjoyed about the conference was the incredible amount of smart people. Everyone really got JavaScript and the talks were really deep, no-one pulled their punches. Some people even took the chance to get their hero's autograph (yes that's Crockford's).

    The venue was incredible too. If you've never been to Berlin before, it's

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  • Build native YQL-powered iPhone and Android apps with your web skills and Appcelerator Titanium

    Editor's note: This is a guest post from the crew at Appcelerator. We've been collaborating with Appcelerator to integrate YQL into the Titanium development platform for mobile apps.

    What happens when you take the best of the web and pair it with the best of mobile? That’s what you get when you pull YQL services into a native iPhone or Android app using Appcelerator Titanium.

    We’ve been working with Yahoo! recently and are excited to announce that you can now build YQL-powered iPhone or Android apps with the Javascript, HTML, and CSS skills you have today. We recently integrated YQL into Titanium (0.7+) so you get this functionality out-of-the-box just by downloading Titanium. Titanium is an open-source application development platform that provides you with over 300 APIs to access the cool native functionality of these smartphones. This includes geo-location, camera, video, filesystem, accelerometer, native UI, and much more.

    We put together a video to show a sample

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  • Yahoo! at Paypal X Innovate 2009

    I'm happy to announce that Yahoo!'s Cody Simms will be participating on a panel about The Future of App Stores at Paypal's X Innovate 2009 conference. The Yahoo! Application Platform is an important part of what we are working on here at YDN and we are excited to be working with the rest of the industry to push the boundaries. X Innovate is PayPal’s new developer conference and will take place in San Francisco Nov 3-4.

    Cody Simms joined Yahoo! in 2005 and is currently Senior Director of Product Management for the Yahoo! Open Strategy, which includes all of Yahoo!’s user generated content platforms, social platforms, and open application platform efforts.  Before Yahoo!, Cody held product management positions at The New York Times, Sprint PCS, and NBC Internet.

    Our friends over at Paypal are really excited about X Innovate and so are we! This is what they had to say about the conference:

    PayPal Innovate X 2009 is the one place where you can learn how to capitalize on PayPal’s

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  • YQL now with API keys baked in! Access the NYT, AMEE and Sunlight APIs more easily than ever before

    It's with a great deal of pleasure that I get to announce a little something for you the developer. Our wonderful friends over at the New York Times, AMEE, and Sunlight Labs have kindly provided us with some default credentials for you to use when accessing their services.

    This means YQL is the easiest way to access these APIs, no sign-up, no need to read documentation, no bull. Just query and go. Just add ?env=store:// to your query url.

    How did we work this marvel? We actually used some of the features of YQL that you can use for your other personal APIs keys too. The first thing we did was take the environment file which adds all the "community tables". Next we added some set lines to it.

    set apikey="1234567890" on nyt.movies.picks

    In this line I set the fake API key 1234567890 for the key apikey on the nyt.movies.picks. By adding a bunch of these sets lines to an environment file you include with every query you

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  • An Engineer’s Guide to Bandwidth

    Web app developers spend most of our time not thinking about how data is actually transmitted through the bowels of the network stack. Abstractions at the application layer let us pretend that networks read and write whole messages as smooth streams of bytes. Generally this is a good thing. But knowing what's going underneath is crucial to performance tuning and application design. The character of our users' internet connections is changing and some of the rules of thumb we rely on may need to be revised.

    In reality, the Internet is more like a giant cascading multiplayer game of pachinko. You pour some balls in, they bounce around, lights flash and —usually— they come out in the right order on the other side of the world.

    What we talk about, when we talk about bandwidth

    It's common to talk about network connections solely in terms of "bandwidth". Users are segmented into the high-bandwidth who get the best experience, and low-bandwidth users in the backwoods. We hope some day

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  • Ahoy, Mates! Convert ye pages to Pirate with YQL!

    Avast, scurvy dogs!

    As ye no doubt know "talk like a pirate day" will'n soon be upon us on September 19th in the year of our Lord two thousand and nine. The Yarhoo! Pirate Network know we be instrumental in converting those'n scurvy buccaneers to the ways of the sea. Our mistress be a tempest and Davey Jones be commandin' more bodies into her depths so we must be replenishing our numbers from the ranks of the landlubbers.

    Using Ye Pirate Table

    If'n yar wish to find more salty pirates use yonder YQL table to convert
    your web pages to pirate speak using these here commands. Simply add env=store:// to thar end of your console or request URL and ye be done. Ye pirate tables will appear as if by magic. Since you're likely a lot of lazy dogs here be a link.

    Ye can also use yonder JavaScript on the bottom of your pages to automatically change them to pirate speak after thar page has loaded.

    How we

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  • Vote for Yahoos at South by Southwest (SXSW)

    As you probably know, voting for the SXSW panel picker ends on Friday, September 4. If you aren't one of the many people who've already voted for us, or didn't know we have panels to vote on, here is my personal pick of the SXSW proposals written by Yahoos.

    SocialMania: Designing Social Interfaces - The Game

    This one is from Christian Crumlish and ex-Yahoo Erin Malone - a card-game-playing workshop to explore how social design patterns interact. (You can also pre-order their new book on Amazon).

    Getting Any Web Data As If You're Using SQL

    This one is from me. It's all about YQL. So if you want to see more about how to select * from internet or insert into the.Web (your) values ("of data") in Austin, vote it up!

    The Mother Of All Homepage Redesigns

    This is from the tireless LukeW, as he reminds everyone that Yahoo! is the web's home page

    Improving the User Experience of Ads on Your Site

    This is Chris Jaffe's talk that shares insights into how an advertisement can provide a good user

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  • YQL is like cake; it’s delicious all the way down

    We hope you are as excited as we are about the release of the INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE keywords for YQL. However, we didn't want to stop there. Cake is nice, but it sure is better with ice cream and sprinkles and maybe some of those chocolate wafers.

    So what's the ice cream? First, we are giving you more INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE tables starting today with WordPress. That's right. You can now use YQL to post to any WordPress blog. So how does it work? Well we've been working on a library for YQL Execute that lets you interact with XML-RPC web services. It's not quite ready yet but this WordPress table is a tasty treat just to tickle your tastebuds.

    Say I wanted to create a new blog post on a WordPress installation (including blogs) I would simply need to run: insert into (title, description, blogurl, username, password) values ("Test Title", "This is a test body", "", "yqltestuser", "password");. Try inserting into our test WordPress

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