Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Business Directory for your Local Wordpress Blog or Site

I finished the first version of a business directory WordPress plugin that you can use to deploy a local directory for your Wordpress site or blog. I wanted to make an easy way for non-developers, to launch a local directory for one or multiple business categories.

The Hyp3rL0cal Wordpress Plugin uses two APIs:

To install the CityGrid Hyp3rL0cal Wordpress Plugin you have two options:

  • Search for it and install using the Plugin Search in your Wordpress site (this is the easiest).
  • Download it from the Wordpress plugin directory or via Github, and upload using the "plugin upload" in your Wordpress site.

Once installed you should see a new menu in your Wordpress admin menu, called CityGrid. It contains an overview of the plugin and a setting page for configuring your Wordpress directory.

Using the settings page you can configure five elements of your local business directory:

  • CityGrid Publisher Code - The API key that gives you access to CityGrid business data.
  • Directory Label - What your directory will be called on your sites menu.
  • Where - A location of "where" you want to provide a search for, this can include: Cities, Neighborhoods, Zip Codes, Metro Areas, Addresses and Intersections.
  • What - Keywords separated by commas (pizza, pubs, hair salon, auto parts). Each keyword or phrase will create new page and directory.
  • Ads - Whether or not you want to show ads on your site.

I tried to find strike a balance between simplicity, while also giving site owners a very robust local directory for their site. My goal is to empower non-developers with the ability to launch local business directories for any topic or geographic location at a city level.

This is just version 1.0 of the CityGrid Hyp3rL0cal Wordpress Plugin, so if you find problems, or there are things you would like to see in future versions, please tweet your feedback @citygridapiteam or leave comments on the CityGrid Dev Talk Forum.

from Kin Lane http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KinLane/~3/VOIvZSKPxiY/

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Garrett Willkin - API Evangelist

Garrett Wilkin (@garrettwilkin) has been working with complex, high-performance, financial software systems for more than 6 years.  During this time he has learned to analyze and understand large software applications with dozens of concurrent processes.  He’s accustomed to complexity and excels at translating technical issues into higher level concepts for non-technical audiences.  

He feels passionately about the opportunities for collaboration and innovation that are being produced through the API trend of recent years.  He recently attended and participated in the hacking at Music Hack Day in Boston. Having been inspired by the electric, creative energy at this event, he’s seeking further engagement with the wider hacking community.

As a writer for ProgrammableWeb since March 2011 Garrett has written more than 100 articles on APIs and the strategies behind them. Because of their shared passion for creativity and innovation, he enjoys engaging the technical and business leadership from these companies in discussing their niche in the API space.

His latest web technology project seeks to use Twilio to bridge the technology gap in rural communities where many people lack familiarity with or access to the web.  Seeing value in the wisdom and cultural perspectives of these people who do not participate in our digital age, he hopes to use the old fashioned phone to facilitate their involvement.

Are You An API Evangelist Too?

from API Evangelist http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ApiEvangelist/~3/ylYyuSxVdco/

What is API Evangelist?

API Evangelist has grown beyond being just a research blog. It is time for me to update the about us page, and its time for me to tell the story of what is "API Evangelist", and how I view my role in the API industry.

API Evangelist started in July 2010. I was burning out in my job as VP of Technology for an events management company that managed events for SAP and Google. I was looking for a way to re-invent myself, doing something that I enjoyed, but also keep me employed for the next 5 years or more. I was looking for something that I was knowledeable about, would be around for a few years. I quickly identified web APIs as this focus.

Web APIs had been a big part of my career since the early 2000’s. I’ve designed and consumed a lot of APIs, and they were the glue in a platform I built for my web development company Original Web Solutions, which I ran from 2000 through 2008.  But I also saw web APIs as vital, but quiet player in the growth of the Internet:

  • Social - Web APIs grew up along with social platforms like Flickr, Delicous, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Cloud - Web APIs came of age, with proving they could deploy IT infrastructure via Amazon Web Services, and are the power driving Paas and Saas.
  • Mobile - Web APIs are becoming ubiquitous with the growth of iOS, Android, Blackbery and Windows mobile phone usage.

This locked it in for me. APIs were not only growing, they were going to be around for a while. So I started API Evangelist, and began researching the space, looking for a way that I could make not only a career, I could also make an impact.

I set out, researching the space. I evaluated over 200 of the top web APIs, and wanted to understand their approach, why they were successful (or not), and who were movers and shakers in the space. I quickly saw that there were plenty of technical pundits or RESTafarians, who had strong opinions on technically how to deploy your APIs, but there very few people addressing the business side of API deployment and management.

This was my angle. I would focus on the business of APIs, and study the approach, and building blocks that were used by successful API owners. By the end of 2010, I had my focus, and in 2011 I spent a lot of time getting to know the space, and the key players in the API industry. I met influencers such as John Musser(@johnmusser) of ProgrammableWeb, Daniel Jacobson(@daniel_jacobson) of Netflix, Steven Willmott(@njyx) of 3Scale and Sam Ramji(@sramji) of Apigee.

Throughout 2011 I developed my voice and approach to the space by blogging on ProgrammableWeb and API Evangelist and being the API Evangelist for Mimeo.com. In 2012 I feel this has moved beyond research and out of the PHD period, after 2 years exclusively focusing on the space, i feel like its a full-time career now. My role is not as "API Guru" as many people are quick to say, I see it as "API Luminary". All I do is shine light on what other really smart people are doing in the space, and thanks to my girlfriend Audrey Watters (@audreywatters), I’m learning to shine the light by telling stories. Stories about the power of web APIs, and how they are transforming businesses and entire industries.

This is my story of how I became the API Evangelist. Though I have worked to build a brand around the title, I’m not the only one out there. With the growth of APIs, there are many more API evangelist, developer evangelist and developer advocates popping up. I want to help give them a platform for telling their story of how they got where they are, and their vision of the API Industry.

Here are a few of those stories:

If you are an aPI evangelist, developer evangelist or developer advocate, and would like to share your story, email me at info@apievangelist.com and I’ll publish your story here.

This blog is no longer just about me, its grown larger than that. Its become about the power of change by using web APIs, the people who are implementing that change, and the businesses and industries that are being transformed.

from API Evangelist http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ApiEvangelist/~3/BVUjwg-Bfps/

Role of Social Media in Managing An API Ecosystem

When new users sign up for the CityGrid API, I immediately get an email with their name, email and phone number, which are required for registration. The API is self-service, and I rely on the essential building blocks I’ve assembled as part of the API area to support them in their first hours and days of integration.

Five days after registration, if a publishers has not reached out to the CityGrid API team, or show any usage on the API, I reach out to them via email, asking if there is ANYTHING I can do to make their integration successful. I do not send an email blast, I email them one by one, and as I do this, I use Rapportive in my Gmail to identify if they have a Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn account. I then send a personal email, and follow them on their social networks and research their business web site, if they have one.

I’d say about 65% of my API users that are responsive, reply and tell me they are planning on integrating and just need more time or are waiting for the development resources to free up and then they’ll tackle integration. These are perfect candidates for social media, and because they are responsive they tend to follow me back on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Since I keep my social networks active on a daily basis, hopefully they’ll see regular, informative posts from me, demonstrating not only is there a person behind the curtain at the CityGrid API, that I am actually investing in their success.

New registrations are only one of my API success metrics. My ultimate goal is to have them actively consuming the Places, Reviews and Offers API and making money using CityGrid Mobile and Web Advertising and Places that Pay.  To convert users from new to active users, I have to stay engaged with them, and I couldn’t do this without the use of social media.

from API Evangelist http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ApiEvangelist/~3/Rp2ygDZ8B0Q/

Thursday, February 23, 2012

68 Hackathons Happening in March 2012

I finished my roundup of hackathons for the API Evangelist calendar this morning. It took me a large portion of yesterday to gather and do the data entry for all the hackathons. Something I should probably have someone else do, but I like being in tune with the different events.

I tracked on hackathons last year, but this year I’m spending time each week organizing into a calendar to share with my readers, publish a roundup on ProgrammableWeb each week, and plan which events I will be attending or sponsoring.

I’m impressed with the growth in the number of hackathons worldwide in 2012:

  • January 2012 - 35
  • February 2012 - 57
  • March 2012 - 68

That is 160 hackathons so far this year! Quite an impressive number. These hackathons are occurring in cities around the globe and on topics including music, mobile, civic, hardware, robotics, Heroku, node.js, art, science, Facebook, health, baseball, military vets, and the ubiquitous focus on building a start-up.

I attended nine hackathons in January and only three so far in February. I try to attend as wide variety of events as I can. I feel it it extremely healthy that the hackathon model is expanding into new areas and industries. I think this brings more problem owners to the table, and introduces the hacker way into mainstream society.

Though I enjoy Startup Weekend events, and feel they have a large role in spreading the hackathon model, it concerns me that their model is spreading as the primary definition of what a hackathon is. There are many reasons to put on a hackathon, and many outcomes, a start-up is only one possible reason or outcome. Of the 160 hackathons in 2012 so far, 68 were Startup Weekends, that is 42.5%, and I see their model applied at many other events.

Obviously the dream of having a start-up is prevalent amongst the young hacker community, and the Startup Weekend model speaks to the Silicon Valley version of American dream.  But I think there are a lot of other lessons that come from hackathons like innovation, collaboration, education, communication, and networking, with a start-up not always being a sensible outcome.

Again, I’m not saying the Startup Weekend model is bad, I just don’t want this to be the model applied to every industry or sector, where we need innovation, collaboration, education, communication and networking before we’d ever need to consider creating start-ups.

In my view, the hackathon model has potential to train up next generation of hackers across all industries and sectors, providing a framework for problem owners from all walks of life, to learn how to creatively use technology to solve problems they face in their every day lives or work place. I am very excited about the growth in number of hackathons in 2012, and I want to make sure we keep the model spreading in the healthiest way possible, and help introduce everyone to the hacker way of life, making hackathons an all inclusive environment.

from API Evangelist http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ApiEvangelist/~3/cGJmzyKhBcM/

API Evangelist Hackathon Until End of March

This is a list of hackathons coming up in the near future. I've only done the data entry for events until the end of March. So far there are 156 hackathons accounted for. Some pretty staggering numbers in the growth around hackathons. If you have a hackathon coming up that is not listed, make sure and let me know.

Open Chattanooga Hack-a-thon: Transportation 02/24/2012 Chattanooga
United States
SFEDU Startup Weekend Bay Area 02/24/2012 Santa Clara
United States
Code: NOLA - A Civic Hackathon 02/24/2012 New Orleans
United States
Honolulu Startup Weekend February 24-26, 2012 02/24/2012 Honolulu
United States
Boston Startup Weekend 02/24/2012 Cambridge
United States
Evansville Startup Weekend 2/11 02/24/2012 Evansville
United States
Lansing Startup Weekend 02/24/2012 East Lansing
United States
LA Startup Weekend 02/24/2012 Santa Monica
United States
Music Apps Hack Weekend 02/24/2012 New York
United States
BeMyApp San Francisco - The 2012 Mobile App Olympics 02/24/2012 San Francisco
United States
BeMyApp Dallas - The 2012 Mobile App Olympics - Hackathon Competition 02/24/2012 Dallas
United States
CityCamp Santa Cruz 02/25/2012 Santa Cruz
United States
BlackBerry Hackathon San Diego 02/25/2012 San Diego
United States
Photo Hack Day 2 02/25/2012 New York
United States
Code Across America ATX: A Civic Innovation Hackathon 02/25/2012 Austin
United States
Code Across America SF: Brigade HQ 02/25/2012 San Francisco
United States
Heroku for Java Hackathon 02/25/2012 San Francisco
United States
HACK the Idea-Hack-Party PARTY 02/28/2012 Palm Springs
United States
Node.js Hackday and Party 02/29/2012 San Francisco
United States
Maker Startup Weekend 03/02/2012 San Francisco
United States
Santa Clara Robotics Hackathon 03/02/2012 Santa Clara
United States
AngelHack Hackathon NYC 03/02/2012 New York
United States
Westchester County Robotics Hackathon 03/02/2012 Westchester County
United States
Okanagan Startup Weekend 03/02/2012 Kelowna
United States
Art Hack Weekend SF: A HTML5 + WebGL Hackathon 03/02/2012 San Francisco
United States
Southeastern Idaho Robotics Hack-a-thon 03/02/2012
United States
Des Moines Startup Weekend 03/02/2012 Des Moines
United States
Olympia Startup Weekend 03/02/2012 Lacey
United States
DC Datadive with Data Without Borders and the Independent Sector NGEN Fellows 03/02/2012 Washington
United States
angelHack Hackathon: Boston 03/03/2012 Cambridge
United States
angelHack Hackathon: Silicon Valley 03/03/2012 San Francisco
United States
DIY DAYS NYC 2012 03/03/2012 New York
United States
Apps Challenge Hack Day 03/03/2012 San Diego
United States
Code Across America: Open San Diego Hack Day 03/03/2012 San Diego
United States
CreateBaltimore Hackathon, Follow-Up, and Future Plans 03/04/2012 Baltimore
United States
SpinKick - Seattle Tech Conference and App Kickstart-a-Thon 03/07/2012 Seattle
United States
AT&T Mobile App Hackathon - Austin (SXSW) 03/09/2012 Austin
United States
App Dev Hackathon @ SXSW 03/09/2012 Austin
United States
Backplane's Managers Hack at SxSW 2012 03/11/2012 Austin
United States
HACK THE CHANGE 03/16/2012 Philadelphia
United States
Charlottesville Startup Weekend 03/23/2012 Charlottesville
United States
Startup Weekend Orlando 03/23/2012 Orlando
United States
Code and Kegs Hackathon 03/23/2012 Kalamazoo
United States
HackNY Spring Hackathon Bus- Cambridge, Providence & New Haven 03/24/2012 Cambridge
United States
Boston Baseball Hack Day 2012 03/24/2012 Dorchester
United States
Mozilla MDN Hack Day in NYC 03/24/2012 New York
United States
HackNY Spring Hackathon Bus- Philadelphia, Princeton, New Brunswick 03/24/2012 New York
United States
Startup (Military) Veterans Weekend/Hackathon 03/24/2012 San Francisco
United States
Transporter Hackathon (and Designathon) 03/24/2012 San Francisco
United States
Unleash Your Ninja Geek Hackathon 03/24/2012 New York
United States
Stamford Startup Weekend 03/30/2012 Stamford
United States
Austin Startup Weekend #3 03/30/2012 Austin
United States
Lehigh Valley Hack 2012 03/30/2012 Bethlehem
United States
Startup Weekend Orange County 2 (SWOC) 3/30 03/30/2012 Orange
United States

from API Evangelist http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ApiEvangelist/~3/o9uzZOtdDSE/

Saturday, February 18, 2012

CityGrid Places API with Hyp3r0cal for Wordpress

I wanted a way to make the rich content available via CityGrid APIs accessible to anyone, even if you weren't a developer.

CityGrid has some great iOS and Android software development kits (SDK) available for building local, mobile applications.

I've also built some samples and starter kits for building local web applications in PHP, Python and Ruby.

WordPress seemed like the perfect next step to reach a larger audience, so I took the PHP Hyp3rL0cal directory that uses CityGrid Places API, and deployed it as a Wordpress Plugin.

Now you can launch a quick section on your Wordpress blog or site that allows you to display businesses for your area, in whatever category you wish.

This CityGrid Hyp3rL0cal Wordpress Plugin is meant to be a project that developers can learn from and even deploy their own local WordPress Plugins that use CityGrid APIs.  However its completely functional and could be deployed by any non-developer as well.

Right now you can download or fork at Github, as I stabilize it further I will publish to the CityGrid developer center code samples page.

If you have any questions or need help, visit the CityGrid Developer Forums or ping us on Twitter via @citygridapiteam.

from Kin Lane http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KinLane/~3/Tjeqg9drLac/

Friday, February 17, 2012

Measuring the Success of a Public Web API

I'm a member of a Google group called API Craft. There are some really smart API folks talking about everything from API deployment to API business strategies there.  

The other day someone in the groups asked:

How does someone measure success in developing and deploying a public–facing Web API?

Scott Regan (@scottregan) of Apigee gave a great response, and I wanted to share with everyone here. Scott’s suggestions for measurements were:

  • Revenue - For public APIs, could be affiliate program revenue, ad revenue, or if incremental traffic from apps to the website has a known monetization rate
  • Reach - Incremental new user accounts or unique users
  • Partnerships - Number of new partnerships established around your API
  • Apps - The number of new apps developed using your API
  • Traffic - Apply percentage of incremental traffic ("our API channel is now X% of total internet traffic")
  • Brand - Measuring increased 'brand', but only if the company has an really established way to do this

Scott goes on to say:

When it comes to business metric tracking one thing i've seen work well is when the API team publishes a 'dashboard' widely and regularly - tracking actual results to estimates - because it helps PM focus the roadmap on what moves the business needle as agreed and avoid getting the team pulled in different directions.

Each API could potentially have different success factors depending on the type of API or the goals of a company. But revenue, reach, partnerships, apps, traffic and increased brand awareness are good places to start.  Thanks Scott.

from API Evangelist http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ApiEvangelist/~3/AUVU3hcDVoU/

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Local, Geo Landscape Roundup - February 15th, 2012

The best of the blog posts and tweets from Localeze, Acxiom, InfoGroup, Verizon, YPG.com, Yahoo GeoPlanet, Foursquare, Facebook, Google Places, Google Mobile Ads, Google Geo, Simple Geo, Factual, Yelp, Fwix, Infochimps, PlacesIQ, HyperPublic and Placecast for the week. In an effort to keep track of whats going on in the local and geo landscape I track on all of the tweets and blog posts from these providers.

From the Foursquare Blog

  • Quick Tip: Finding last minute flowers, treats, and date night spots! - (02/14/2012) - Explore on your phoneto find the nearest chocolates, flowers, or cupcakes on the way to your date tonight. (Try searching cozy, romantic, or delicious if youre still looking for a place to go! ) Good luck!
  • Quick Tip: Find the address in a snap (and some recommendations while youre at it) - (02/13/2012) - If youre using Google Chromeas your browser, you can get super speedy results with this keyboard shortcut trick: 1) Type foursquare. com into the address bar and hit the tab key 2) Type the name of the place and hit enter! Well show you our search results page, including addresses. Click through to see a map, recommendations, photos, and even the menu if the theyve provided the info. Still need to pick a spot? Use foursquare. com/explore to find tons of personalized recommendations for whatever youre craving, based on what you and your friends like.
  • Sculpture gardens, scenic lookouts, sugary confections planning your Valentines Day with foursquare! - (02/10/2012) - Planning a day date for the weekend? Check out these lists of romantic parks inNorth Carolinaand New York. From planetariums to sculpture parks, this list has romantic spotsacross the country. Who says Valentines Day is for couples only? Browse lists from for fun places to go alone or with your friends in DC, Boston, and New York. Check out these performance venues in Houstonor The Corcoran Groupsrecommendations for theaters and showsin New York. Dont forget to buy tickets! Looking for love? Take some tips from Bravos Millionaire Matchmaker and her suggestions for the perfect datein New Jersey and New York. Make plans to see some of the breathtaking viewsfrom around the world!
  • How colleges make the world better with foursquare! - (02/09/2012) - The University of Toledo leaves tipsaround campus to let students know where to find all the recycling bins (no more pizza box graveyards in students dorm rooms! ). For their Sustainability Week activities (how awesome is it that they have that? ), the University at Albany-SUNYrewardedstudents and faculty with 10 campus dollars for leaving tips about sustainability for others to discover. For a recent food drive, George Mason Universitycreated a foursquarelistof all the participating drop-off locations accepting canned food, so students all over campus knew where to take their donations. At the University of North Alabama (Go Lions!
  • Finding places on the go has never been easier check out the new Explore for your phone! - (02/08/2012) - Today, were launching an updated version of Explore for iPhoneand Android, bringing over a bunch of the great features from our recent Explore on the weblaunch straight to your phone, like changing your location, filtering your recommendations, and photos in your search results! Get ready for personalized recommendations for whatever youre craving, wherever and whenever you need them! Smarter searching Every time you search with Explore, well show you results based on the time of day, places your friends have been or left tips, places on lists you follow, and places we think youll like based on the 1,500,000,000 check-ins on foursquare.
  • City badge winners announced! #visitUS - (02/08/2012) - governors promoted, and celebrity chefstweeted, but in the end, only three cities could win their very own badge. Actually, there were so many awesome lists, we picked five (and it was so hard to narrow it down that far)! Here they are: Baltimore, Maryland With retweets from themayor, the governor, thelieutenant governor, The Good Wifestar Josh Charles, Charm City Cakes, and their Ace of Cakesstar Duff Goldman,Visit Baltimorewon the follower count category with over 1000 followers! Check out their amazing list, featuring everything from the best Thursday night karaoke bar, to the uncanny Frank Zappa Statue. Richmond, Virginia Richmond is for lovers!

From the Facebook Blog

  • Early Success Stories: Timeline Apps and Open Graph - (02/15/2012) - img. border { border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; border-color: #CCCCCC;} There should be an app for everyone on Facebook, and people are quickly starting to use the apps you build to experience all of the things they love shopping, reading books, eating and traveling with their friends. A few weeks ago, more than 60 new timeline apps went live. These apps - many in the lifestyle category - broadened what was available to people on Facebook beyond the music, news and video apps that were introduced at f8 in September. Music apps like Spotify, Songza and Deezer are seeing dramatic increases in sharing and music discovery.
  • Announcing The Facebook Mobile Platform Global Hacks Roadshow- Europe - (02/13/2012) - In October, we announced the Facebook Mobile Platform, bringing social channels and distribution to mobile apps. Since then, momentum has been building, and today, more than 60 million visitors interact with apps and games on the platform every month. In October we also invited mobile developers to join us for a Mobile Hack in Palo Alto. We later visited mobile developers in New York and Boston to hold similar events. Hundreds joined us at each event, learned about the Facebook Mobile Platform, worked on mobile hack projects, and presented them to panels of VCs and tech executives. We were thrilled that these mobile hack events attracted developers from around the world, from as far afield as London, Israel and Brazil.
  • Platform Updates: Operation Developer Love - (02/10/2012) - This week, we posted blogs on Creating Featured Stories with Action Specs and Developer Blog Subscriptions. Additionally, we invited developers to come talk to us at the Games Developer Conference in San Francisco in March. Open Graph "Read" Built-in Action Available in DevApp This week we enabled the built-in Read action in the Open Graph Tool. Like the Watch action or any custom action, you will still have to submit this action for review before you can go live. Please check out the documentation and requirements for Built-in Action Types. New: Best Practices This week we published our first product guide, "Guide: Complete the loop to grow your app with Open Graph.
  • Payments update - (02/10/2012) - We have a few updates for developers using Payments on Facebook Platform, including updates to the Pay Dialog, payout reports as well as new payer promotions. New Payer Promotions Facebook has begun sponsoring promotions to help developers convert game players into paying users. We are currently running an offer to encourage game players to make a first-time purchase using their credit card or PayPal account. This offers allows the user to earn $4 of value for free by purchasing 10 Facebook Credits at the regular price of $1. Users outside the US will see the same offer expressed in their local currency. There are two versions of this offer currently running on the platform.
  • Developer Blog Subscriptions - (02/08/2012) - We recently launched the ability to manage your email subscriptions on the Developer Site: A month ago, we discovered a bug in our Developer Blog email subscriptions that prevented posts from getting emailed. We fixed this bug today and sent out all posts that were never delivered. This ensured that you didn't miss any important announcements (some posts dated back to mid-January). We apologize for sending the emails all at once and any confusion that this may have caused. Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.


From the Google Geo Developers Blog

  • Fab Friday: Three Quick Links - (02/10/2012) - Google Vector Layers: Google Vector Layers allows you to easily add one or more vector layers from a number of different geo web services to a Google Maps API based application.
  • Debugging KML Balloon Content in Google Earth - (02/09/2012) - KML Balloons in Google Earth - starting with version 5. 0 - support HTML, CSS, and almost full JavaScript.

Processing Twitter for Factual


From the InfoChimps Blog

  • Infochimps at Strata Conference 2012 - (02/10/2012) - We’re excited to have our CTO, Flip Kromer presenting a talk at Strata Conference in Santa Clara later this month. The discussion centers arounddisambiguation. Now you might be wondering… what is disambiguation? Simply put, disambiguation is the process of resolving conflicts to remove ambiguity. We’ve discussed this topic a number of times in this blog and Flip will be presenting on how this concept affects the way we ask questions and find answers about Big Data. For more details on the talk, check out the Strata schedule.

Processing Twitter for InfoChimps


Processing Twitter for InfoGroup


Processing Twitter for Acxiom

from Kin Lane http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KinLane/~3/UrcDvxXlyek/

Interactive API Documentation Now Available with 3Scale

I first wrote about interactive API documentation with Posterous’s new API area in June 2011, then the follow-up when Mashery deployed their own version called I/O Docs in July 2011.

Smart, interactive or I/O API documentation is an evolution of API documentation from static and often boring documentation, to more interactive and real-time experience, allowing you to make live calls against an API while also browsing the documentation that explains how it operates.

Peter Gruenbaum of SDK Bridge has surveyed and done exhaustive research on what developers say about API documentation and web API documentation best practices, proving that up to date, and complete documentation can be very successful in helping developers get up and running using an API.

The API Service Provider, 3Scale has stepped up with their own interactive API documentation for users of their platform using Swagger, an open-source framework that lets developers learn, play, test and debug each element of an API in real-time.

There are 3 main benefits for API owners coming from adopting Swagger:

  • Automated, consistent generation of clean, beautiful, interactive API documentation
  • Generation of client code and SDK in Scala, Java, Javascript, Ruby, PHP, and Actionscript 3
  • Feeding into an industry wide API discovery language that both developers and non-developers can use

While many companies are providing API explorers for their developers to make live calls against their APIs, I think interactive documentation holds more value in educating developers about APIs, while also allowing them to make real-time calls. My feeling is that this makes some tough concepts stickier while trying to understand and integrate with an API.

Visit the 3Scale site for more information on using their API management platform for deploying interactive documentation, using Swagger, for your APIs.

Disclosure:  I have consulted with 3Scale on industry strategy several times.

from API Evangelist http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ApiEvangelist/~3/iHO4XufWBwg/

Monday, February 13, 2012

CityGrid Places, Reviews, Offers and Advertising API Review

Much of the work I get as an API Evangelist starts with a review of an API area. I have evolved a way to look at API areas, and identify which building blocks are present or missing, all contributing to the success or failure of an API.

I started evolved this methodology in summer of 2012 when I was first building API Evangelist, by reviewing over 250+ of the top APIs out there. I generated a list of the common building blocks used by APIs, as well as identified a bunch of innovative and less commonly used building blocks.

When I first started working with CityGrid I reviewed their API area, which contained the following building blocks:

I have a list of what I consider essential API area building blocks, and most of them are represented here, but there were a couple missing. So today I added 3 more areas:

An API has to have a getting started page as well as a place for frequently asked questions. Developers have to find the information they need to go from evaluation to integration without asking for help.

The publisher overview page is unique. It covers the different business tiers of developers, or as we call them at CityGrid, publishers. Even though these tiers are unique to how we approach things at CityGrid, they are four potential levels of an API ecosystem, that other API owners can employ.

The CityGrid API area is not up to par 100% by the standards I preach here on API Evangelist. I’m working on a new code samples page which has PHP, Python, Ruby code samples and starter kits--which I will publish this week at some point. But overall the CityGrid API community contains the essential building blocks I feel are necessary to build an ecosystem, and I’m working on finding out what else my developers will need to be successful and put them in my roadmap.

from API Evangelist http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ApiEvangelist/~3/Ie3s3PKCfI8/

Are There Enough Do-ers For This API Vision to Work?

I am an eternal optimist, especially when it comes to APIs. I really feel that APIs can decouple businesses assets and resources, making these companies much more efficient.

We’ve seen the power of the API when it comes to companies like Twitter, Twilio, Facebook and many others. But to build something on top of an API, you have to be a do-er.

A do-er is a term invented by Jeff Lawson (@jeffiel) of Twilio:

Do-er (n): A particularly driven individual, esp. a developer, who picks up their tools and builds something special.

Do-ers are a fundamental ingredient in API ecosystems, and when I go to many conferences and walk by booths I see a fundamentally different process of holding peoples hands and showing them what they need to know. I also see many companies relying on this process to even make money.

So I have to ask--are we creating enough do-ers?  

I am very optimistic about the future of API growth, but I do worry sometimes about there being enough doers to make APIs continue to grow. Many individuals are so used to the regular sales cycle and corporate training, they don’t seem equipped to find solutions to their problems on their own.

Are you a do-er?  Do you think there are enough do-ers out there?

from API Evangelist http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ApiEvangelist/~3/eFNpxifFmpU/

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Let's Remake Libraries as Hacker Spaces and Community Innovation Centers

I was reading several stories yesterday about the State of California cutting funding for libraries across the state. These kind of budget cuts really make me worry for the future of our children and our communities.

I say it is time that we all come together and figure out a way to re-invent our libraries, and one possible way forward is to remake our local libraries as hacker space.

Here are a few ideas I had today about this:

  • Dedicated Hacker Spaces - Each community could have a space to have hackathons that could be used for locally driven events as well as a place for out of town organizers to throw events.
  • Hackathon Model - Libraries could adopt a hackathon model for throwing small or large events in any area, allowing kids and adults to organize and participate in hackathons in any topic area.
  • Sponsorship - Bring in sponsors much like we do for hackathons, allowing tech and other companies to invest in single or ongoing hackathon efforts at libraries in the markets and subject areas that matter to them most.
  • Revenue Opportunities - These sponsorship opportunities would allow libraries to create new ways to fund their operations based upon the corporate sponsors that reflect the type of space libraries want to create.
  • Mentorship - Allow anyone to become a hacker mentor in any subject, allowing them to share expertise and knowledge with others in their community.
  • Resources - Libraries could provide access to computers, Internet connectivity, data repositories, code repositories, APIs, software and other resources that are essential to hackers.
  • Community Innovation - These new library hacker spaces could be centers for community innovation to occur, bringing in outside ideas, and circulating new ideas within existing community leaders.
  • Incubation - Library hacker spaces could be centers of business incubation, providing a rich and fertile environment for ideas to take root and find the resources and talent they need to actually become businesses, creating desperately needed jobs in communities.

I’m not sure entirely of the reasons why libraries are not a funding priority in this country, at a time when we are more than happy to fund wars, prisons and other areas that do not enrich our communities.  The whole thing just boggles my mind, and leaves me very concerned.

Times are changing, and I’m sure this has something to do with it--regardless ibraries need to find new ways to stay relevant in this digitial age within their communities, and the tech community needs to step in and help.

I think the hackathon model could provide a very positive way to remake our libraries into innovation centers within our communities, turning anyone into a potential hacker and mentor in the subject area they are most skilled and passionate about.

I’d love to hear other ideas, about how we can do this, and I’ll work them into my future stories as well as my hackathon schedule as I travel around the country.

from API Evangelist - Blog http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ApiEvangelist/~3/t_Gstna_41E/

Local, Geo Landscape Roundup - February 6th, 2012

From the Facebook Blog

  • Join the Facebook Platform team at GDC in March - (02/06/2012) - We're excited to announce Facebook Developer Day at Game Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday, March 5th. Conference attendees are invited to join the Facebook Platform team for interactive discussions throughout the day on best practices and pro-tips for building social games. At this all-day event, developers will learn the fundamentals of building successful social games across platforms, including mobile and console, and how to deeply integrate apps with timeline through Open Graph. Register now for an "All-Access" or "Summit & Tutorials" pass to GDC San Francisco to secure your spot at Facebook Developer Day on Monday, March 5th.
  • Creating Featured Stories with Action Specs - (02/03/2012) - Recently we announced a new way of creating Featured Stories (previously "Sponsored Stories") on the Ads API by using action specs. These changes make the Ads API more flexible and will make it easier for developers to adapt to new story types as we launch them. We will be deprecating the old sponsored stories creative types as of May 1. Prior to this change Sponsored Stories were defined by choosing the correct Ad Creative type for the specific Sponsored Story type. E. g. a page like sponsored story was type 9, a page post like sponsored story was type 17 etc. This made it complicated for developers to incorporate new Sponsored Story types as each Sponsored Story required different fields per story type.
  • Platform Updates: Operation Developer Love - (02/03/2012) - This week, we published a How-To on subscribing to data changes using the Real-time Updates API, as well as a games update on driving more discovery for games and shared Single Sign-On best practices for iOS and Android mobile developers. Lastly we announced a guide on How to Migrate your Application Profile Page. Ability to set the Password on Test Users We have long had a feature on the Developer App to enable you to create a new test user and to switch to it as needed. We've heard that it was still difficult for developers to test their mobile apps. To address this need, we have added the ability to set the password of the a user now from the Developer App.
  • How-To: Migrate your App Profile Page - (02/01/2012) - In December, we announced that we will be deprecating App Profile Pages on Feburary 1st. Many developers have asked for some tips on how to smoothly migrate their page. Below are some common issues, questions, and pro-tips for how to handle. What happens when users go to my deprecated App Profile Page? We recommend updating any links that you've shared to your App Profile Page to point to your new target Page.


Processing Twitter for Factual

(02/01/2012) Had a great time sponsoring @StartupWeekend San Jose. Congrats to @dougzor @alexconrad & bzzr.me team for winning our developer prize #swjs

From the InfoChimps Blog

  • The Rise and Fall of the Fortune 500 - (02/01/2012) - this elegant interactive visualization of publicly available Wikipedia data around the Fortune 500, America's largest corporation. His intent was to show how 84,000 data points could be easily viewed and navigated in one interactive piece. We think he did an amazing job using the clean, simple display to tell rich stories of company histories and the rise and fall of our country's top corporations. One company that stands out in our minds is Eastman Kodak, who enjoyed growing revenues and steady profitability for decades.

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(02/07/2012) RT @paulmiller: My #datamarkets podcast with @mrflip of @infochimps now online. @buzzdata chat will go up Thursday. http://t.co/t28gFH53
(02/06/2012) We're excited about our webcast with @datameer on finding customer insights with Big Data analytics! http://t.co/0HnmnFgr
(02/03/2012) @agbegin That is sweet!
(02/03/2012) Our CTO, @mrflip will be speaking at @StrataConf later this month. Will you be there? http://t.co/ThbbYyFG
(02/01/2012) RT @flowingdata: Mapping the drug wars in Mexico http://t.co/BKg6kFkg

Processing Twitter for InfoGroup

(02/06/2012) Register to download #Yesmail Interactive's FREE #Lookbook, award winning email/mobile designs http://t.co/yg4YEhoZ
(02/02/2012) How to Make Your Mobile Marketing Succeed in 2012 : Technology :: American Express OPEN Forum http://t.co/wEJ31rpV via @OpenForum
(02/01/2012) How to Pitch Angel Investors : Money :: American Express OPEN Forum http://t.co/dZAiWbr1 via @OpenForum
(02/01/2012) The 7 Fundamentals of Building a Successful Business : Marketing :: American Express OPEN Forum http://t.co/AnOTU4v9 via @OpenForum

Processing Twitter for Acxiom

(02/07/2012) #SherpaEmail attendees: Have you used SMS or QR codes for email list signups? For Yes- Text TWEET A to 64686. For No-Text TWEET B to 64686
(02/06/2012) Join us at #sherpaemail next week! Find out what panels we're participating in & how you can get text alerts http://t.co/Q8XgP8VE
(02/03/2012) @TlaBouff Great to hear, Tara. Which paper did you download? Would love to hear your thoughts on it.
(02/01/2012) Are You Competing with Your Own Business Identity? - Search Engine Watch Article by Jeff Beard (#SEW) http://t.co/J4pqxd2z

From the InMobi Blog

  • Developers' Guide to MWC - (02/06/2012) - Business Cards How many cards were you planning on bringing? Nope - bring twice as many! Make sure you actually do something with the cards you pick up - I like WorldCard for scanning in cards. Pick Up All The Schwag Every company will be handing out free posters, stressballs, branded USB sticks, samples, and - in some cases - giving away phones. Take everything you can lay your hands on. Hand Sanitiser You're going to be shaking hands with thousands of people. Take along a bottle of hand sanitiser to help prevent picking up the MWC lurgy. Throat Lozenges Talking everyone through your app is hard on the vocal chords - especially if you've spent all night at the karaoke!

from Hack Education http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KinLane/~3/8NgdP54u6yc/

February Hackathon Schedule

Here are the hackathons I'm tracking on for February. I'm adding new ones as I find them, make sure and checkout the hackathon events calendar for more information.

OPF Hackathon - A Practical Approach to Database Archiving 02/07/2012 Copenhagen
Constantine Startup Weekend 02/09/2012 Constantine
University of Miami Ohio Startup Weekend 02/2012 02/10/2012 Oxford
United States
Greater Lafayette Startup Weekend 2012 02/10/2012 Lafayette
United States
Startup Weekend Jackson 02/10/2012 Jackson
United States
Startup Weekend Twin Cities 3 02/10/2012 Twin Cities
United States
Valencia Startup Weekend 02/2012 02/10/2012 Valencia
Music Hack Day San Francisco 02/11/2012
Hacking at Music Hack Day San Francisco 2012 02/11/2012 San Francisco
United States
The Digital Barn 02/11/2012 Barnsley
United Kingdom
Hack To The Future 11.02.2012 (Kids) 02/11/2012 Preston
United Kingdom
qMedia HACK-A-THON 02/15/2012 London
United Kingdom
Startup Weekend Cluj 17-19.02.2012 02/17/2012 Cluj-Napoca
AT&T Mobile App Hackathon - Dallas 02/17/2012 Plano
United States
Detroit Startup Weekend 4 02/17/2012 Detroit
United States
FreshlyHacked 02/17/2012 Melbourne
Guadalajara Startup Weekend 02/12 02/17/2012 Lomas del Valle, 3a Sección Zapopan
Open Hackday Tampere [Free] 02/18/2012 Tampere
Christchurch Startup Weekend 2/12 02/24/2012 Christchurch
New Zealand
Honolulu Startup Weekend February 24-26, 2012 02/24/2012 Honolulu
United States
BeMyApp San Francisco - The 2012 Mobile App Olympics 02/24/2012 San Francisco
United States

from API Evangelist - Blog http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ApiEvangelist/~3/85aLJTjXMNQ/

Sunday, February 5, 2012

SEO Friendly, Static Local Directory Without Caching Data

I’m working on several prototypes for building CityGrid local directories, demonstrating best practices when building web and mobile apps using CityGrid APIs. One question I’ve gotten a lot lately is how are developers supposed to build SEO friendly local directories with static pages if they aren’t allowed to cache businesses and places from the CityGrid API?

It is true, per the CityGrid Usage Requirements, you aren’t allowed to store places data in a local database or cache locally. But if you think about this, it isn’t a negative, its a positive. You don’t have to manage the potentially millions of business listings (which isn’t easy), and when a business updates their profile you don’t have to worry about having out of date information.

If you can’t store the data, then how do you build out local directories, with static pages?

To begin I would start with the root of all places search with CityGrid, the what and the where. I recommend building a folder structure that looks like this /where/what/, for example /newyorkcity/pubs/. Then in the root of this folder, put a single index page that parses the folder structure and sets your where and what variables, before making a live search using the CityGrid places API.

Now with the results of your places API search you can list the results for the user to select from. For each business listing you will get back a CityGrid places ID and public ID. The public ID is a pretty SEO friendly representation of the business, such as macs-irish-pub-new-york-city. This should work as your SEO detail, and you have two options: you can either use a mod_rewrite that will interpret this as next folder or page, or you have to statically build out a folder or page that represents each places listing. Either way your page should have a way to interpret the public ID into a numeric CityGrid ID and then make a call to the CityGrid Places API and make a detail request, returning back the full detail of a business listing.

As I write this, I realize how tough this is to explain, even though it is a pretty simple approach. The basic concept is you use your folder structure to provide the what, where and places SEO friendly detail ID. These are all the core elements you will need to make searches and detail requests against CityGrid API.

I’m working on two separate prototypes to demonstrate this, one is a mod_rewrite version and the other will statically build out pages that actually don’t store any data, except for the places ID--then make live calls again the CityGrid Places API to get what you need in real-time. Stay tuned and I will post the prototypes with accompanying blog posts, this week.

from Hack Education http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KinLane/~3/aq1zoDs5K3U/

New York City Open Data Highlight: Restaurant Inspection Results

The amount of open data available right now can be dizzying and overwhelming. When looking through various data repositories and data marketplaces, I am trying to identify open data sets from various cities that may be of use to CityGrid developers.

As I find data sets, that can add value to your web and mobile apps I will highlight here on the blog. Today’s highlighted data set is from NYC Open Data, and provides a complete set of restaurant inspection results for New York City.

When your users are looking for restaurants, while using your applications, it seems that knowing the restaurants latest inspection grade would be useful information in making a decision where to eat.

At the moment CityGrid doesn’t include restaurant inspection grades in our places detail, but with open data sets like NYC restaurant inspection results you could download and link up by restaurant name and address, to augment the already rich business info and reviews you get from CityGrid APIs.

I will be regularly highlighting other city data sets here, in hopes of providing quality data you can augment CityGrid places with, as well let our data acquisition team about new data you would like to see integrated with CityGrid places--so make sure and let me know when you find any of these useful, I will pass it on.

from Hack Education http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KinLane/~3/TjIR6JGni50/

What is Social in Local, Mobile, Social?

I am working to define a CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social stack, to help CityGrid developers more efficiently build web and mobile apps. This definition will contain APIs, tools, platforms and other data sets that can be used along with CityGrid PlacesOffersReviews and Advertising.

I’m working my way through a bunch of tools and APIs for the local and mobile portion of the stack, but I find myself spinning when I’m trying to define the “social”. Obviously providing information on using the primary social networks in your apps is important:

But where do we go next with social in our local mobile applications? We can find our friends, we can check-in and socially share what we are doing in our every day, local lives--but it seems like there is more that I'm missing.

I have some rough ideas of what could be next for social, but I’d like to solicit thoughts from you developers regarding what is next, when it comes to making your local, mobile apps social. What are you doing in your apps? What do you see others doing?  Ping me @citygridapiteam with your ideas.

from Hack Education http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KinLane/~3/674OtlMlpkg/