Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Yahoo! Mail goes API

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Have you always wanted to write your own Yahoo! Mail client? Now you can! Just weeks after the launch of Yahoo! Pipes, Yahoo! launches another big developer product. Mail has opened up their backend,  which powers both the Mail beta and the Frontpage module. The service supports SOAP and JSON-RPC, which supports all kinds of languages. On the Developer Network site you can find code samples for Java, .NET, PHP, Perl and Python to get started quickly. Getting the user-credentials is done through BBAuth!

The official announcement can be found on the Developer Network Blog.

Launching the Un-Launch-Able

Friday, September 29th, 2006

Opening up Yahoo! I’ve been looking forward to this day and writing this exact post for quite some time now! So this is it! Wow, this feels great! We just pushed Browser Based Authentication (BBAuth) out the door.

Let’s start this post with what BBAuth is and what it can be used for. It was designed to allow third-party applications to interact with user-specific data with the users’ consent. On top of doing the obvious, it supports Single Sign-On out of the box.

That means you can build applications that instead of creating your own sign-up flow, which requires users to pick yet another username and password, you can let them sign in with their existing Yahoo! account. The best thing about it is that it’s safe, the YahooId does not get shared with the applications. Your application needs to redirect the user to the Yahoo! BBAuth login and after the user successfully logs in, your app will receive an encrypted and unique userid for each user that logs in. This sample application makes use of SSO.

Good or bad? That is up-to-you do decide. My opinion is that this can make navigating the web so much easier for users, and I am one of them! I don’t want to have to remember ‘x’ usernames and ‘y ‘passwords and keep adding to the list everyday. There are also other ways of dealing with that problem, but here is a solution that is really straightforward. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think! I want to add that this is not driven by a huge initiative to get everyone on Yahoo!, but an attempt to put out another tool that developers can decide to adopt if they like it.

But that’s not all! Yahoo! Photos opened up an API that takes advantage of BBAuth as well. I wrote a sample application that is using it, which allows user to view and update titles and descriptions for photos stored on Yahoo!. The ajaxy parts are using the YUI libraries. On top of all that, we are doing a private beta for developers who attend our public Hackday! The new Yahoo! Mail is opening up their backend!! Appid sign-up will be limited for now but stay tuned for future updates.

For me, this has been quite a ride from the first time we talked about making BBAuth happen until today, the day we finally launched. In a big company like Yahoo!, you need to get input / approval from quite some folks if you want to do something out of the box and open up the company. All that makes sense and is justifiable but sometimes I wish it would have been faster. On the other side, I learned a lot about the company I work for, how big companies work in general, egos, friends and allies and most importantly how you get stuff done that is obviously not on everyone’s “need this today” list.

Like most platform projects that have to support a lot of different use-cases, the list of people that have made this happen is very long and I don’t even want to try to list them all. Instead I want to send a big “general” thank you out to all the thinkers and do-ers, the try-to-stop-it-ers and the must-have-today-ers! Thanks to all of you for making it what it is today!

Further reading: On the Developer Network page we have the official announcement. Jeremy posted something on his blog as well. Without his help to clear last minute “congestions” I am not sure if would have gone out today :)

Hackday – Final Countdown

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

It’s getting close! A little over two days are left before we kick off the Yahoo Hack Day! A lot has been written, the guest list / registration will close very soon and we are about to buckle up and go on the ride! There will be classes on Friday during the day ranging from social networks to performance, and in the evening we will have a huge performance that goes way beyond all the usual corporate music gigs, you name it. People are already speculating and we will see who gets it right at the end.

Besides the entertainment and classes we will have networking, coding, camping, presentations, wifi, food (not free – sorry, we spent the $ somewhere else), parking and and and. It will be a lot of fun! If you didn’t sign up already, this is your last call! You can do this on

Sidenote: The timer on the hackday page gets powered by the RESTful getTime web service that I wrote for fun. How much more basic then getTime can a web service get? That’s not the point :) The nice thing about it is that it supports JSON and serialized PHP on top of the XML output. – Evite for documents

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

Earlier today, Jeffrey McManus announced the launch of a service that let’s you share, comment on and approve documents. The idea is to provide a solution that replaces the need to mail around documents and have to follow up manually with each recipient. Have a look!

Places I visited – Nice Toy

Monday, September 4th, 2006

create your own visited countries map or vertaling Duits Nederlands

create your own visited states map

Camera phone stolen – Pictures on Flickr

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006

Here is a great story that just made it on Slashdot.

Someone stole a cell phone that runs ShoZu, a mobile photo sharing service. The person who “found” the phone took pictures of the now famous (65.000 view at the time of writing the post) Chihuahua. Enjoy!

Zonetag is another solution that can upload pictures form a mobile device to Flickr and on top of that is able to geotag images based on the cell tower information.

Flickr and ‘rev’ their consumer product

Monday, August 28th, 2006 now integrates with Flickr and Yahoo! Local; Flickr added geotagging functionality to the organizr – That rocks!

More on “Yeah, we’ve been busy. What’s new? Undiscovered events, Flickr photos for events, buddy icons, new event pages, and more than we can remember.”

More on Flickr: “Flickr’s great for exploring photos by photographer, tag, time, text and group, and now it’s also great for exploring photos by place.” – APIs are in the make

Passing Mercedes and Porsche with Google

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

This is amazing! Google just updated their Maps material for Germany and offers high resolution data and driving directions for it. They also provide better data for many other places in Europe as well. Check out the blog post.

I was looking up the Pyramids of Egypt yesterday when I realized that I could also see all the places I lived in Germany in great detail. When I was studying in Germany my daily commute led me by the Porsche and Mercedes factory. Here is the route I usually took:

This “tour” takes you past some of the most interesting POI around Stuttgart.
– the Ludwigsburg Palace (Wikipedia)
Porsche Headquaters
Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion where a couple of FIFA World Cup games will be played in July. Check out this mashup for more information
Mercedes Benz Headquaters which stretches over a couple of miles along the Neckar river.
– And finally the University of Applied Sciences in Esslingen

One more interesting spot is the TV tower in Stuttgart (Wikipedia)

Cross-Browser Drag and Drop libraries (and more) unleashed

Monday, February 13th, 2006

Developing Web sites has become much more then just adding text placed between HTML tags. Good examples are Google Maps or the new Yahoo Mail client. Major challenges are browser in developing those applications is browser normalization and implementing advanced features like drag and drop.

There are already a couple of toolkits out that deal with those issues like DOJO, Zimbra and Sarissa just to name a few. Each one has different strength and feature sets. Today, Yahoo! announced that they put their home grown JavaScript libraries under the FreeBSD license which is available at

The Toolkit contains JavaScript files that make it much easier to develop more sophisticated web UIs. Features that are included are

It comes with some so called UI Components e.g a calendar that enables users to move between months or select a specific date and more.

Update: This blog post covers the libraries with a lot of detail.

Moved to

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

A couple of days ago, Jeremy wrote that three of his computers gave up on him. I only lost one server this week, which I have maintained for the last couple of years. It died right Google and Sun joined forces! The server was a Cobalt RAQ3, which was Sun’s version of a Linux Web server. It had a nice administration interface to set up the DNS, websites, users, email, but at the same time it was open enough to install more applications like mySql, web mail and offered the full shell experiance. But why run your own server? It’s nice, but for a couple bucks a month, I get a really reliable solution at that offers all that I currently need. Almost everything… I still have an Intel server sitting in my bedroom.