"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Understanding OpenSocial

Here's my initial, superficial, and brief, take on OpenSocial, as I understand it so far. There are several aspects to OpenSocial, the top two being that there is a Javascript, "gadgets" oriented part, and there is a server, atompub / gdata part.

The part that interests me most, and that has the wider implications in the long run, is the atompub / gdata part. Facebook can make a proprietary api "more truly open," as Mark Cuban says. But that just becomes the means for more easily having "third party" support for an OpenSocial "gateway", if you will, for Facebook.

In that same article Tim O'Reilly focuses too much (as I read it, solely) on the Javascript / "gadgets" part of OpenSocial. That's missing what will, or should, become the key to OpenSocial having a bigger impact on the web, in the long run, that either Facebook or MySpace. Combined, in my opinion.

There are all kinds of "innovation happens elsewhere" implications of the OpenSocial atompub / gdata part that overshadow "gadgetry". From the OpenSocial docs...

The OpenSocial API is a set of common APIs for building social applications on many websites. There are two ways to access the OpenSocial API: client-side using the JavaScript API and server-side using RESTful data APIs.
And so, there is no reason the OpenSocial RESTful APIs, even the Persistence API, have to be served by Google. It seems to me from these docs that Google assumes many sites will support these APIs.

1 comment:

Brian McCallister said...

Speaking to more than google... AFAIK the only generally available container, so far, is ours. Orkut is in limited beta, and Plaxo's supposedly has launched, but there is no way I have found to publish an app there.

There is nothing Google specific about OpenSocial, other than that they are leading the charge on speccing things out.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.