Tag Archives: Open Stack

Mainstreaming “open”: David Recordon joins Facebook!

David Recordon

It was first reported by BusinessWeek today, that as part of their step-on-the-gas hiring spree, Facebook has landed one of the most prominent figures in the Open Web movement, David Recordon. David confirmed the report, first via Twitter (after receiving a few congratulations from key players on the Facebook Connect platform team, including Dave Morin and Josh Elman) — and later via a blogpost.

I think this is great news for the emerging Social Web, as this now gives David a chance to cross-pollinate between the grass-roots open-spec world of OpenID, OAuth, Portable Contacts, and the rest of the Open Stack and the mainstream, rapidly growing Facebook platform that is serving over 300 million active users and countless thousands of developers of all sizes.

I hope and believe we can continue to count on David to be a passionate and clear-headed voice on behalf of user rights and the Open Web. And I can’t wait for the next episode of The Social Web TV, where David joins me, Joseph Smarr, and Chris Messina on a frequent basis, to make sense of the evolution toward a more open and interoperable Web.

[Update: gotta love Chris Messina's post on this!]

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Must See Web TV: Joseph Smarr’s “The Social Web: An Implementer’s Guide”

Late last month, Google hosted their annual developer gathering, Google I/O, in San Francisco. Among the many interesting talks was one by Joseph Smarr, Plaxo’s Chief Platform Artchitect, someone involved deeply in all the aspects of the Open Stack. If you want to understand what’s going on in the emerging Social Web, you have to watch his talk, entitled “The Social Web: An Implementer’s Guide.”

Joseph explains how you can now leverage technologies for openness and interoperability to:

– Streamline your sign up flow
– Put an end to “re-friend madness”
– Kill the “password anti-pattern”
– Ride the “virtuous cycle”

His talk includes several demos. Check it out:

Alternatively, you can access the slides over at Joseph’s blog.

To quote Joseph, “The web is now social. And the Social Web is now open.”

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Live Blogging from the Activity Streams Meetup

Up in San Francisco for another open spec community gathering, this one focused on working toward standardization of “activity streams,” the flow of user-generated content which is the lifeblood of the emerging Social Web. This Activity Streams Meetup is being hosted at Six Apart, with David Recordon guiding the event. As Plaxo’s Joseph Smarr tweeted, we hope this all leads to “more structured metadata in feeds”.

As usual, I’ll sprinkle in a mix of photos and observations, but not attempt to take anything approaching full notes. In addition to Six Apart, there are folks here or from Facebook, MySpace, Google, Yahoo, Plaxo, among others. That means there’s representation for projects that span DiSo, OpenSocial, Open Stack, Facebook Connect, Y!OS, MySpaceID, among others. Sweet!

Microsoft’s Dare Obasanjo has a nice post describing the problem we need to solve, entitled, Representing Rich Media and Social Network Activities in RSS/Atom Feeds. Also recommend this post from Chris Messina, Where we’re going with Activity Streams. And for more background, here’s Chris Messina’s talk on Activity Streams at the pre-holiday Open Stack Meetup:

And now, some photos of the Activity Stream Meetup:

Activity Streams Meetup

Activity Streams Meetup

Activity Streams Meetup

Activity Streams Meetup

Lots of good discussion, trying to get everyone on the same page about the problem we’re trying to solve and what we can hope to accomplish today. As people are sharing all sorts of stuff from a rapidly growing list of services (examples just for photos: Flickr, Picasa, Smugmug, etc.). Every social network is either a webwide lifestream aggregator today (early examples: Plaxo Pulse and FriendFeed), or are becoming one quickly (examples: Facebook and MySpace). And every aggregator faces the same set of challenges that arise from the chaos of there being no standard for how to format the feed of user-shared content. No common convention for naming of objects or verbs. This is the classic problem space for the Open Stack of OpenID, OAuth, XRD, Portable Contacts, and OpenSocial.

Great to see the active participation from Luke Shepard from Facebook, who just shared some of the problems of complexity they experienced by having too much flexibility in the verb space. I think he just said “combinatorial explosion” to describe it.

Cool, just noticed that Ian Kennedy is live streaming the event via his mobile phone and Kyte. So now you can watch it so you don’t miss anything!

Chris Messina takes to the white board:

Activity Stream Meetup

Activity Streams Meetup

David Recordon of SixApart, who is running the Meetup, with Joseph Smarr:

Activity Streams Meetup

Okay, now we’re about to go over a draft spec… Martin Atkins of Six Apart is now going over at high-level a review of a draft spec.

Activity Streams Meetup

Activity Streams Meetup

Now, Monica Keller of MySpace is jumping in, showing an alternative proposal and getting lots of feedback.

Discussion of reviving Media RSS vs. starting with Atom Media.

David Recordon is showing a demo of a Six Apart implementation done against the current draft spec in answer to a question from Joseph Smarr about how firm the draft feels, and whether we have any good insights from early implementations. It’s a demo of an API which transforms existing Atom and RSS feeds from sites like Flickr, Twitter, Digg, and blogs into new feeds (which can also be aggregated together) that include markup from the draft Activity Streams specifications being discussed. Along with the work from MySpace, this constitutes one of the first two implementations of the draft specification.

What a great working session! We’re two-and-a-half hours in an still going strong. Good discussion now about the importance (and complexities) of handing “friending” events, whether those are bi-directional or “follows”. Some differing thoughts here from the DiSo folks vs. the big social networks. Good sharing of insights from Facebook and Plaxo.

Activity Streams Meetup

It’s after 6:00, and we’re wrapping up. Great session. Great participation from sites large and small and from folks just looking out for the open Social Web at large.

UPDATE: Check out Marshall Kirkpatrick’s excellent piece on the event on ReadWriteWeb (which also was syndicated to the New York Times) and Marc Canter’s thoughtful post, DiSo Activity Stream Standard.

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Optimism for 2009: Joseph Smarr Demos the Near-Future of the Social Web on the Open Stack

Joseph Smarr at the Open Stack Meetup

It is kind of fashionable at the moment to point out the real or imagined shortcomings of OpenID, in light of the elegance of Facebook Connect. But the reality is that together with the other elements of the Open Stack (OAuth, XRD, Portable Contacts, and OpenSocial), OpenID is entering 2009 with incredible momentum, and tantalizing possibilities. And no one is more capable of demonstrating the possibilities than Plaxo’s Joseph Smarr, who “kicked ass” at the recent Open Stack meetup. Video of his killer presentation with demos has just been posted online. Yes, it’s geeky, and the demos are not pretty to look at, but the new capabilities shown will be turned into product early in 2009 at Plaxo, Google, Yahoo, and MySpace, among others. If you want a glimpse into the near-future of the Social Web, built on the Open Stack, this is 17 minutes of must-see TV:

Also, check out Joseph’s new post reviewing six months of progress on Portable Contacts.

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My Keynote Address at Last Week’s Open Stack Meetup

2008 is going out on a high note, with incredible momentum for the new Open Stack. I had the honor of delivering a brief introduction to the Open Stack at last Friday evening’s Open Stack Meetup in San Francisco. We’ll end up using this material on The Social Web TV somehow, but thought I’d share this you now. [Warning: Contains cursing.]

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