Tag Archives: PortableContacts

Joseph Smarr at Web 2.0 on the New “Open Stack”

Joseph Smarr, Plaxo’s chief platform architect, and de facto leader of the Portable Contacts initiative, gave a talk today at the Web 2.0 conference in New York. Entitled “Tying it all together; Implementing the Open Web,” it was a rallying cry for developers to jump in and get working on the new “open stack” of OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial, XRDS-Simple, and Portable Contacts. See converage from attendees Kris Jordan and Steve Kuhn (who quips about Joseph, “Dude talks fast”)!

Joseph asserted that the industry has now come together around a common vision for the future of the Social Web — a vision that abandons the walled garden model in favor of a new services layer that interconnects social hubs with the rest of the web. The service layer is comprised of Identity Providers, Social Graph Providers, and Content Aggregators:

A Common Vision for the Future of the Social Web

And, indeed, that is the vision behind the strategies we see from Google (with Friend Connect; which launched for real today), Plaxo (with Pulse), MySpace (with Data Availability), Yahoo (with Y!OS), and, yes, even Facebook, too (with Connect).

Joseph goes on to observe that there are two pathways to that vision, one built on Facebook’s proprietary stack and the pathway chosen by MySpace, Google, Yahoo, Plaxo, and many others, built on the new open stack:

The New "Open Stack" for the Social Web

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Thanks, SGI, for the Gift of OpenGL!

I am so pleased to see SGI in a good news story today, after all the years of decline and sadness. Apparently there’s been a problem brewing with the license under which SGI was making OpenGL available, as in it was a license that was “accepted by neither the Free Software Foundation (FSF) nor the Open Source Initiative,” according to Bruse Byfield of Linux.com. The problem has now been resolved through a new license. Details can be found in a press release from SGI. The new license was applauded by both the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Khronos Group, an organization developing royalty free standards around OpenGL.

I’ve been thinking about OpenGL recently, as it helped introduce me to open standards, years ago when I worked at SGI. Back in late 1995, after I persuaded SGI to become the first licensee of Java, I tried (and failed) to convince Sun to follow SGI’s lead to make Java a truly open standard, rather than a Sun proprietary thing, with heavy licensing.

Now, as we work to solidify and gain traction for a “new open stack” for the emerging Social Web, I continue to be inspired by the bold idea behind turning SGI’s proprietary “GL” (Graphic Library) and into OpenGL.

The new open stack is comprised of OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial, XRDS-Simple, and Portable Contacts. Projects as diverse as MySpace Data Availability, Y!OS, Google Friend Connect, and Plaxo Pulse now share a common vision (of an open interoperable Social Web) and are being built out on this common set of open spec building blocks. Each company can innovate faster by not having to waste development resources on creating one-off proprietary APIs. Each company can see more rapid uptake by developers, since those developers can write once and have there code work in more places. And each company can be part of the virtuous cycle of acceleration by contributing code to the open stack.

Exciting times!

The New "Open Stack" for the Social Web

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Yahoo’s “Y!OS”: Strong Proof the Web is Going Social — and Open!

Some really big news came and went last week, with relatively little attention paid to it by the mainstream media. Yahoo, the top Internet site in a major battle to regain it’s “mojo,” unveiled the details of “Y!OS” (Yahoo Open Strategy), a truly bold move that completely re-defines the notion of a portal. [See also nice coverage on Mashable by Rob Diana.]

Just as the “open” wave is transforming social network from walled gardens into aggregation hubs for connecting with the rest of the Web, Y!OS will transform Yahoo from a traditional portal into something entirely new. They’re doing it all by building on top of open spec building blocks, including OpenID, OAuth, and OpenSocial. And they’re not just taking these blocks off the shelf; they’re also giving back, contributing their own innovations in the spirit of let’s-all-work-together to keep the web open.

To learn more about Y!OS, we invited Cody Simms, Sr. Director of Product Management from Yahoo on to our weekly Internet TV show, The Social Web TV. Cody is a really dynamic guy; I think you’ll agree this is a great episode!

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Plaxo Becomes “Portable Contacts” Provider, Helping Vet the Draft Spec

Portable Contacts deep dive

As a follow-on to last week’s Portable Contacts Summit, Plaxo has updated its API site, de-emphasizing the company’s proprietary APIs in favor of Portable Contacts and the other associated “open stack” building blocks (OpenID, OAuth, microformats, OpenSocial, etc.). While the spec still remains in a draft state, the community agreed that it is time to start getting multiple live implementations up, as part of the process of vetting the current (and any future) draft. Only in that way can there be a fully-informed decision process to declare a final 1.0.

Joseph Smarr, who is Plaxo’s Chief Platform Architect and the de facto leader of the grass roots Portable Contacts initiative, blogged about the update to the API site in a piece entitled “Portable Contacts is Now Plaxo’s Primary API“:

We’ve revamped Plaxo’s developer section to focus primarily on the open building blocks we’re using. Starting now, developers should consider OAuth and Portable Contacts the primary way to access profile, address book, and pulse connections data from Plaxo. The idea is simple: once you write code to work with Plaxo, you can use that exact same code on a variety of other sites. And if you’ve already integrated with one of those sites, you can start working with Plaxo right away. After all, one of the main drivers to create Portable Contacts was the pain developers face having to write custom, one-off API implementations against every site they deal with. So we think it’s time to start living the good life, where common specs mean less writing code and more interoperability with more sites.

Given the strong support demonstrated at the Summit, we expect to see other implementations in the wild soon. And since Portable Contacts is all about enabling interoperability between Social Web services, it is critically important that we test a variety of cross-site scenarios live before declaring this or a future draft to be “1.0”.

One really cool thing is that all of the companies that fully implement the new OpenSocial RESTful APIs will be Portable Contacts compliant “out of the box” — without having to write any additional code. That’s because the Portable Contacts community worked with the OpenSocial community to technically align the two specs. So, don’t be surprised to see Portable Contacts support coming soon to some really big Internet players. (Hint: Google and MySpace had live demos at last week’s Summit.)

I am starting to feel very confident in my prediction for 2008! 🙂

If you are a developer who wants to jump in and get started on Portable Contacts, head over to Plaxo’s just-updated API site.

Update: I just also got a link to a live Portable Contacts demo from JanRain, which ties together OpenID and Plaxo’s implementation of Portable Contacts. Very cool.

[Reminder/disclosure: I work for Plaxo.]

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Live Blogging from the Portable Contacts Summit

The much-anticipated Portable Contacts Summit has kicked off, with folks from companies large and small and representatives of various open-spec communities. Joseph Smarr of Plaxo is leading the opening session and is going through a bunch of demos of working code.

Some quotes:

“The Portable Contacts train has left the station, and it’s a bullet train.”

“I’ve got more demos than I have Firefox tabs.”

“One good pipe deserves another.”

Joseph is demoing the power of having technical alignment between Portable Contacts and OpenSocial RESTFul APIs. What that means is that any site that is OpenSocial compliant will be Portable Contacts compliant — without having to do any additional work!

Folks in attendance include people who work at Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, MySpace, Facebook, Hi5, Plaxo, Six Apart, Seesmic, JanRain, Skydeck, ShopIt, Current.TV, Interscope Records, and more. Today’s event is hosted by MySpace.

12:00 Joseph demoing interop between Plaxo and MySpace.
12:05 Now a demo of JanRain’s myOpenID with support for Portable Contacts
12:07 Now on to Google, another instance of compliance via OpenSocial RESTful APIs
12:08 iGoogle, GMail, and Orkut (all leveraging the same backend)
12:09 Brian Ellin of JanRain about to do a demo of an end-user application
12:11 Brain implemented Portable Contacts last night in Ruby

lunch break

1:00 About to resume. Saw amazing discussions over lunch. I won’t name names, but some would be shocked by the various pairings of competitors breaking bread together
1:15 Joseph leading a deep dive on the spec. Lots of questions, discussion.
1:30 Lots of great questions and discussion about OAuth and XRDS-Simple
3:00 Wow! Just barely made it all the way through the spec. Impressive. Everyone is fried.
3:30 Unconference phase now, but really informal; organically forming conversation circles.
4:15 About to do the next steps and wrap up

Kevin Marks, of Google, is doing a nice job live tweeting the event. He’s @kevinmarks on Twitter.

UPDATE:

Great posts from the team at ShopIt and from data portability maven Daniela Barbosa.

And another fine post from the godfather of open, Marc Canter.

Here are a few photos so far:

Spec-compliant name tag

Joseph Smarr kicks off the Summit

Around the room

Brian from JanRain

Brian of JanRain and Joseph of Plaxo

Portable Contacts deep dive

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Live from the PortableContacts Hackathon

Inspired by the great energy at the PortableContacts Hackathon. About 15 folks, passionate about fleshing out the open-spec building blocks and putting them into action. I think they’ll be some great demos tomorrow at the PortableContacts Summit!

Thanks to David Recordon and Six Apart for hosting and to Joseph Smarr of Plaxo for leading the event.

From the PortableContacts Hackathon

From the PortableContacts Hackathon

From the PortableContacts Hackathon

From the PortableContacts Hackathon

PortableContacts Portable Keg

PortableContacts Hackathon

Kevin Marks, Patrick Chanezon, Joseph Smarr

PortableContacts Hackathon

PortableContacts Hackathon

PortableContacts Hackathon

PortableContacts Hackathon

DSC00514

David has a nice writeup on the Hackathon at O’Reilly Radar.

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A Big Bang for the Social Web

It’s certainly a big week, what with the Hadron Collider finally coming on line, raising existential risk questions for the planet, as physicists attempt to recreate the conditions immediately after the Big Bang that gave birth to our universe. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, developers are attempting to give birth to a truly open Social Web, by stitching together for the first time the open spec building blocks: OpenID, XRDS-Simple, OAuth, and PortableContacts.

You can participate yourself at the PortableContacts Hackathon this evening, hosted by SixApart. Or you can get the quick overview in this video podcast I did with Plaxo’s Joseph Smarr.

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