W3C Forms Working Group on Web APIs

The W3C is forming a working group to look standards for Web APIs. This will be good in the long run for making AJAX interfaces much easier to develop across browsers and platforms.

The W3C Web API Working Group is chartered to develop standard APIs for client-side Web Application development. This work will include both documenting existing APIs such as XMLHttpRequest and developing new APIs in order to enable richer Web Applications.

Fun with Map APIs

I have been looking into Yahoo!’s mapping service API this week (Google offers one as well). What they have done is opened up their mapping services so that you can display your data on their maps. I have created a example on Yahoo! that displays my upcoming speaking gigs. Kind of silly but it took me all of 15 minutes to put this together which is quite amazing. It is all driven by this little xml file.

I think this kind of thing could be quite useful for association meetings where you could develop your own custom map of the meeting and lodging facilities related to your event. You could even create a special map for VIPs with all the locations of special dinners and other invitation-only events.

NewsGator Eats Ranchero Software

Just heard that NewsGator has bought Ranchero Software, the makers of NetNewsWire, which is my RSS newsreader of choice on the Mac:

Q: How does NetNewsWire fit into NewsGator’s plans?

Greg: Over the last 2.5 years, we’ve built a comprehensive RSS aggregation platform. We have clients for the web, for email clients, for mobile phones and PDAs, and even for your TV. With the acquisition of FeedDemon a few months ago, we added the industry-leading Windows desktop aggregator. NetNewsWire really completes this story for us – we now have the best client on the Mac, which lets us serve this exciting part of the market as well. And make no mistake – we’re very excited about the Mac. Just looking at our data shows a huge penetration of RSS tools among Mac users – clearly you’re all early technology adopters, and that gives us a unique opportunity to try out new leading-edge stuff with you.

Funny thing is that the picture on the announcement page is of a guy using a Windows laptop. 🙂 This should lead to some great integration features for NNW in the future.

NewsGator should have a big knowledge lead on their competitors since they have hired by acquiring the developers of the two premiere RSS desktop applications. That’s probably worth more in the long run than the software.

Paging Robert Scoble: Tell msnbot to Calm Down

I’m posting this note with Robert Scoble‘s name in it in order to get some attention from Microsoft about the behavior of their RSS bot, msnbot.

Over the past week, the bot has hit my site over 27k times for about 38mb of bandwidth. The bot is almost exclusively hitting RSS feeds. However, most of the feeds it is getting on my site are for individual entries, which allow people to track comments. Each feed is getting hit about 100x a week. I would think that is a big waste of effort for older entries that get few comments. Once a day should be plenty.

So, Robert, when you see this in one of your ego notifications, please pass the word to whoever manages msnbot to chill out a bit on the hits. I love to be indexed but not at such a heavy load which is wasting my bandwidth and MS’s. If the load goes much higher I might ban the bot for poor manners.

I read my news via HTTP

I had several conversations about RSS at the ASAE meeting. Often discussed was Microsoft’s upcoming new operating system Vista (nee Longhorn) that will have RSS support built into it at a very low level. My hope is that they will do it in such a seamless way that most users will have no idea they are even using something called RSS (or Atom or whatever) to track sites, headlines, what have you.

Right now, you have to spend a significant amount of time when introducing the concept to give all the background necessary for it to make sense. I remember giving presentations in the early/mid 90s where I had to explain what a web site was. No one tells you today that they like to get their information via HTTP. RSS will have made it when no one has to talk about it anymore to make use of it.

Given MS’s track record, transparent RSS support will probably really well in Vista2.0: The Next Horizon.

Nick Bradbury on Microsoft & RSS

You may have heard that Microsoft announced recently that they will be building in RSS support to a great extent in their next operating system. Nick Bradbury provides his perspective on the move. He talks about some interesting possible outcomes and how, as a newsreader developer, he isn’t worried about MS eating his lunch, something they have been known to do in the past.

AJAX

Wondering how Google creates such great interfaces for web applications such as Gmail and Google Maps?

AJAX:

Google Suggest and Google Maps are two examples of a new approach to web applications that we at Adaptive Path have been calling Ajax. The name is shorthand for Asynchronous JavaScript + XML, and it represents a fundamental shift in what’s possible on the Web.

Defining Ajax

Ajax isn’t a technology. It’s really several technologies, each flourishing in its own right, coming together in powerful new ways. Ajax incorporates:

* standards-based presentation using XHTML and CSS;
* dynamic display and interaction using the Document Object Model;
* data interchange and manipulation using XML and XSLT;
* asynchronous data retrieval using XMLHttpRequest;
* and JavaScript binding everything together.

It’s basically the creative use of several mature web technologies in combination. Follow the link above to read more in the very informative article by Jesse James Garrett.

RSS Web Traffic Reports

Here is my good idea for the week: web traffic analysis reports in RSS. I’d love to have a package that can report daily and weekly stats for a site in RSS so I can add it to my subscription list. That sounds like a much easier way to keep tabs on a site than remembering to go view an HTML report daily.

Some cursory searching in google didn’t turn up anything yet. Hopefully some enterprising scripter will get on this and extend one of the existing packages out there.