Is it just me, or is Flickr (currently in beta) one of the best examples of next generation web services?
Note that in this context, I mean "web services" in both senses of the term:
- A web site that provides some useful service that I can interact with using a web browser.
- An application with an API that has been exposed over HTTP using REST, XML-RPC, or SOAP.
Flickr has been on my radar for a while now, but I only recently began to start playing with it. I'm impressed as hell. After my first 10 minutes of playing with it, I found myself thinking "why don't we build stuff like this at Yahoo?" In other words, I realized that we could probably learn a lot from this when it comes to building next generation applications at Yahoo. (Whether or not we do is a whole separate topic of discussion.)
If you want the short version of why I think this, consider the following points. Flickr has the potential to set the new standard for on-line photo sharing, management, etc. Why? Because Flickr...
- does one thing and does it well
- provides a clean and simple UI
- has clear and helpful documentation
- exposes core functionality with a documented API
- account sign up is brain-dead simple
- makes extensive and intuitive use of RSS
- like del.icio.us, uses tags to help organize
- doens't spam me with graphical/animated/flash ads or try to unexpectedly pop up any sort of window
In other words, it's developer friendly, user friendly, and is a web site as well as a "service" or "platform" (in the Web 2.0 sense) all at the same time.
Flickr isn't perfect, of course, but the few things I've run into with it are very minor.
Here are some places to poke around to get a flavor of what Flickr is about:
- Flickr Home
- Flickr API Documentation
- Flickr Organizer Tutorial (very well done)
- Flickr Organizer (nice rich client)
- Flickr Tools (stuff for your desktop and browser)
- How To Get The Most Out of Flickr (a nice short intro)
RSS and Tags
I especially like their use of RSS for "photo streams". For example, this an RSS feed of all my photos (not many yet). And this is an RSS feed of photos tagged with "beach". Note that the URLs are nice friendly RESTish and hackable. Oh, and those are all available as Atom feeds too.
Expect to hear more about Flickr...
Posted by jzawodn at September 07, 2004 11:11 AM