Hacking For Innovation
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Hacking For Innovation

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My presentation for the Sunderland Hack Challenge

My presentation for the Sunderland Hack Challenge

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Hacking For Innovation Hacking For Innovation Presentation Transcript

  • Hacking for Innovation Christian Heilmann | http://wait-till-i.com | http://scriptingenabled.org Sunderland, UK, University Hack Challenge, January 2009
  • Hello, I am Chris.
  • I am a hacker and a geek.
  • The term hacking has a lot of different meanings.
  • To me it means: “Altering a system to do what you want it to do using what is at your disposal.”
  • It also means having a lot of fun trying to make things do what they weren’t made for.
  • It is unrestrained innovation.
  • So welcome, innovators!
  • We’re here to host a University Hack Challenge
  • We want you to show us what can be built using the systems we (and others) offer...
  • ...that makes a difference in your lives and make the things you care about easier to achieve.
  • Find something that always annoyed you with systems you use...
  • ...and build a workaround.
  • You’ll be amazed about the impact this can have.
  • To reach hackvana you need three things:
  • Access, Data and Users
  • Access happens on several channels.
  • The oldest way is to cheat your way in using a very cool piece of software.
  • Using cURL, you can be your own browser and get any data from the web to remix.
  • The problems are that you don’t get the data back in a structured way.
  • You’re at the mercy of the HTML structure and if that one changes your hack fails to work.
  • This is why clever companies realized that it does make sense to offer their data in easier to digest formats.
  • RSS or Really Simple Syndication was born.
  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/restaurants
  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/restaurants/rss
  • Using RSS or Atom feeds you get data in a predictable and easy to convert format.
  • It doesn’t allow you to request specific data or define a different format though.
  • This was the next step: REST APIs or Web Services.
  • REST based Web Services allow you to request the correct data from a system.
  • Which brings you to the second hack ingredient: data.
  • Yahoo Answers http://uk.answers.yahoo.com
  • http://answers.yahooapis.com/ AnswersService/V1/questionSearch? query=sunderland&region=uk&lang=e n&appid=yahoodemo
  • ... lots more...
  • http://developer.yahoo.com/answers/V1/questionSearch.html
  • A lot of web services also allow you to choose your data format.
  • http://answers.yahooapis.com/ AnswersService/V1/questionSearch? query=sunderland&region=uk&lang=e n&appid=yahoodemo&start=1&output= json&callback=useme
  • This makes it dead easy to get the data and re-use it in your own interfaces.
  • What if you want to use several sources?
  • There’s Yahoo Pipes for mixing, filtering and matching.
  • http://pipes.yahoo.com
  • Or if you like SQL-style data conversion there’s YQL:
  • http://developer.yahoo.com/yql/console/
  • Both of these systems allow you to reach data from Yahoo and other services and pre- filter it for use in your own hacks.
  • Now you got the access and you got the data. Time to consider the users.
  • Building *working* web interfaces is a specialist skill.
  • I’ve been developing for the web for 12 years and it still is a mystery to me why some things just don’t work.
  • The technologies are easy enough: HTML for structure CSS for presentation JavaScript for behaviour
  • Where it gets truly annoying is the unknowns.
  • You have no idea about the user’s setup, ability or rights to change their technical environment.
  • And then there are the browsers and all their wonderful bugs and quirks.
  • This is why it is a good start to use libraries or frameworks.
  • Their only reason of being is to make your life as a developer easier and development less random.
  • Here are our helpers: YUI BluePrint http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/ http://mobile.yahoo.com/developers
  • Using these, you can quickly build interfaces that work on the web and mobiles.
  • What about reach?
  • The newest way of access that systems and companies allow you these days is opening up their address books.
  • http://developer.yahoo.com/social/socialdir/ http://code.google.com/apis/opensocial/ http://developers.facebook.com/connect.php
  • Instead of building it and waiting till people come, build where the people are.
  • http://developer.yahoo.com/yap/
  • How about some hack examples?
  • I am a big fan of accessibility.
  • The web is supposed to be for everybody – regardless of physical or mental access restrictions.
  • At Accessibility2.0 Antonia Hyde asked for a video player that works for people with learning disabilities.
  • http://www.slideshare.net/hi.antonia/rich- media-and-web-apps-for-people-with-learning- disabilities
  • Shortly before YouTube announced their API to build your own YouTube Player.
  • I took the API and Antonia’s findings and built EasyYouTube.
  • Screenshot of Easy YouTube http://icant.co.uk/easy-youtube/?http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkdZmi85gxk
  • Easy controls ★ Option to search for videos ★ Copy and paste video URL to share ★ Select video size ★ Easy Volume Control ★ Option to show a playlist created with del.icio.us ★ Option to search YouTube ★ API to automatically open videos in Easy YouTube ★ Documentation how to host it yourself ★ Open Source ★
  • Another example: I use Twitter – a lot.
  • Not all of my updates there are valid for re-distribution though.
  • So I use Pipes to filter my updates and get them back as JSON: http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info? _id=f7229d01b79e508d543fb84e8a0abb0dd
  • And adding a few more lines of JavaScript I can now display my “useful tweets” on my blog:
  • http://www.wait-till-i.com/2008/09/28/useful-tweets-with-pipe/
  • Another example: I use SlideShare – a lot.
  • http://www.slideshare.net/cheilmann/slideshows
  • One cool thing is that SlideShare automatically creates transcripts of your slides:
  • So I’ve used this to create a version that is easily accessible for blind people or those who don’t have Flash.
  • http://icant.co.uk/easy-slideshare/?slides=http:// www.slideshare.net/cheilmann/playing-with-the-web- presentation
  • Using YQL, it was also easy to write a JavaScript wrapper that allows you to show the transcripts with your slides.
  • http://www.wait-till-i.com/2009/01/11/adding-transcripts-to- presentations-embedded-from-slideshare-using-yql/
  • However, coming here I wanted to show a quick new example and spent an hour on Sunday on a hack.
  • I think I said, I use Twitter – a lot.
  • I got all this emails from Twitter telling me about people following me.
  • What I didn’t get was it telling me when people left me.
  • Or what I was telling the world before they left me.
  • So I dug into the API a bit and built TweetEffect.com
  • http://tweeteffect.com/?user=codepo8
  • I put it up, and started testing edge cases.
  • One of them was Guy Kawasaki, whom I knew has a lot of followers and updates.
  • One of them was Guy Kawasaki, whom I knew has a lot of followers and updates.
  • And that started a landslide of visitors, comments and ideas for it.
  • Tim O'Reilly Guy Kawasaki Ryan Carson
  • What about reach? That was me, time for you to show what you can do!
  • Innovation is not a matter of skill or being in the right job position.
  • It is a matter of wanting to change what we have and be ready to play.
  • We do this to help you see your potential.
  • And we do this to see if we do a good job in explaining our offers to the developer world.
  • The web is yours, go out and play!
  • THANKS! Christian Heilmann http://wait-till-i.com http://scriptingenabled.org http://twitter.com/codepo8 Moon bridal hat photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/foxtongue/23309042/ All other photos of the interwebs