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February 8, 2006

SOAP is insane, says Del.icio.us founder

Posted 4326 days ago on February 8, 2006

The is the first of several blogs on the Carson Future of Web Apps conference.

First up was Joshua Schachter from del.icio.us. Enjoyable talk, not ground-breaking but a model of clarity. One fun remark: avoid using "SOAP, Corba or something insane" for your API - del.icio.us doesn't even use REST, Schachter said, but rather POX - plain old XML. His logic is that simple APIs are available to a larger subset of developers - why limit your user base?

He also talked about morals. Interesting point: when someone deletes a bookmark, it is really purged from del.icio.us rather than just marked as unavailable in some database record somewhere. The idea is to respect the user's right to change their mind.

Some things were obvious but nicely put. Site registration: insist on it as late as possible, and make it pleasant, rather than kicking the user back to the home page after registering for the first time.

Taggging, says Schachter, cannot be automated. There has to be an element of "work" in making a tag, to keep a human element - someone thinks the content and the tag really belong together. On the other hand, not too much work: elaborate tags kill the participation.

Finally, some interesting comments on directing development effort. Focus on what will be used, says Schachter, not what users ask for; and don't try to build in unnecessary features. His example is private messaging systems. Why make users log in to your site to read or send messages to one another, when they can just use email?

More later perhaps - I'm now hearing about Flickr.


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