Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Open, social web (OpenID, OAuth, Open Stack)

Henrik and I just went to the workshop about Open, social web, held by David Recordon, Joseph Smarr and Chris Messina.

The workshop was much about open data and how to get different websites sharing data. Even if you use Picasa as your photo service, you will be able to share photos with your friends using Flickr.

To establish standards for open data is a key for new great websites to succeed since users don't want to create account, enter profile information and so on. With a concept for open data that is not needed and of course there is a huge advantage for developers as well. Instead of spending efforts on creating forms, managing forgotten passwords and other profile administration developers can focus on their systems core features.

Another important thing that these guys mentioned as well as the previous speaker is that you shouldn't build functions where users are expected to enter the credentials to Facebook, Google, Msn, etc. You should not build functions that make users wanna give their credentials to websites. Instead use OAuth(read on...) as a method for transfering data between websites.

The guys also differed social networks from social applications. Social network (Facebook, MySpace, Orkut) are much separated systems with no or little integration with other networks. Social applications on the other hand co operates which gains all. For example can last.fm publish played songs on Twitter together with a link back to last.fm.

Today Facebook do their Facebook Connect based on other platforms than the other players like Google, MySpace and Plaxo. People think that they will not be successful in doing that. Users should have the same authorization experience independent of which provider is chosen. From that point of view the best would be if all providers uses same standards.

One interesting technique is OAuth. OAuth is a protocol to allow secure API authorization for mobile, desktop and web applications. I think that OAuth will make sense to the OpenID discussion. With OAuth it is possible to integrate websites and give different websites different access to information. Great!

Another interesting thing is that web content is supposed to be better tagged (like Microformats) meaning that meta keywords and meta description maybe will be less important.

To summarize this was a very interesting workshop with a nice mix of business cases, concepts and code.

Note that pictures and slides will be uploaded to Nansenbloggen later on.