d.construct, Web Services For Fun And Profit

A presentation by Paul Hammond & Simon Willison, of Yahoo!

Paul and Simon gave us a quick overview of the APIs and offerings available from Yahoo.

[Paul and Simon, a Hacking Double Act]

There were many examples of mashups given, some of which included:

Flickr + Yahoo Maps = geotagged photos

One of the most interesting aspects was Yahoo’s Hack Day (Mash Up Or Shut Up), which is held about once a month. Dreamers, coders and hackers from all sorts of disciplines get together to prototype possible new products. There are only two rules, apparently:

  1. Build a prototype in a day
  2. Demonstrate to your colleagues

Basically, for internal and external projects, web services and APIs allow us to build new products faster, and helps innovation. Some products demo’d at a hack day have been in user testing in under a week! This just wouldn’t be possible without published APIs.

The Yahoo Developer Network has loads of information for people wishing to utilise the APIs for:

  • Search
  • Spelling suggestions
  • Term extraction (generating tags from parsed text)
  • Output formats such as XML, serialised PHP, JSON
  • Flickr
  • Maps


Letting your API out into the wild can lead to some very surprising results! How about fully-draggable Pirate map, courtesy of Justin Everett-Church.

[ Yarr! ]

Or perhaps you need to find a picture from Flickr which matches your sketch – you need Retrievr

[Pimp up my sketch]

All the presentation slides are available at Paul Hammond’s website.

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