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October 29, 2004

Extensible Services

One of the areas I've been getting interested in lately is around creating extensible web services. Dave O has a nice post at xml.com on the topic.

Posted by Chris at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2004

Overview of WSDL 2.0

A nice overview of the WSDL 2.0 spec can be found here . Some of the confusing terminology of the WSDL 1.1 spec has been clarified (Ports are now endpoints and PortTypes are now interfaces).
The message element has been moved into the XML Schema section.
We'll see how much support it starts to garner...

Posted by Chris at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2004

Report for Sunday

I'm going to start keeping a log of my surf sessions and the surfline report for each day so I can refer back to it later. This is my first post along these lines.

There was a slight north wind blowing everyone to the top of lindomar. I got about 10 nice lefts and met a nice woman who was very chatty. She also was a wave monster. She mentioned that Sloat was bigger and cleaner today. Definitely a longboard day, although I had my 7'6 along for the ride. I got out at about 8:30 AM and caught a couple long lefts.



Hi, this is Kevin with the report for Sunday morning at 7 AM.


3-4 ft. - waist to shoulder high and fair conditions.


Soft, clean lines are best for a big board.


2004-10-17 2:19 AM PDT 4.78 feet High Tide
2004-10-17 6:54 AM PDT 2.94 feet Low Tide
2004-10-17 7:20 AM PDT Sunrise
2004-10-17 1:14 PM PDT 6.49 feet High Tide
2004-10-17 6:29 PM PDT Sunset
2004-10-17 8:06 PM PDT -0.54 feet Low Tide

Posted by Chris at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2004

Put your cosmos in your blog

This cool little hack lets you display your cosmos in your blog.

Posted by Chris at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

Hacking Technorati

So last night I spent some time hacking technorati. I came up with a little query I call the InOut query. It required a few updates
to the Python version of the API (fixed a couple NPEs and added some parameters to the queries).

Technorati provides two interesting queries for discovering who is linking to a blog and what a blog links to. This Python example illustrates how to find who the set of people linking to a blog are (in), and what other blogs they link to (out). It essentially backs one step up in the link graph, checks which other blogs are linked to, sorts the results based on the number of common references and the global link count.

This query has the nice effect of creating a dynamic group around the people that are linking to a specific blog (possibly yours). It can be used to discover who else they are interested in without doing a bunch of manual web searches. Since they are interested in you they must be smart and link to a bunch of other interesting people :)

The inspiration for this query came from using del.icio.us, rather than explicitly linking to a group of people, I want to see who is interested in what based on their current behavior. For example creating a link to my blog or a link to another website.

The example is coded in python and uses one call to the cosmos-query and then N calls to the outbound-blogs-query based on the number of people/blogs in the cosmos of the start url. A simple python method sums the number of people in your cosmos that link to common blogs, sorts the results, and formats the results in html.

Example usages:

-u [url to analyze]
-o [html file to generate]

python inandout.py -u http://cfry.net/blog/spikes -o my.html

I would love to hear feedback and more ideas about how to make use of the technorati api.

Here is some example output for my blog: here.

Pete points out that there is a similar query here

Posted by Chris at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2004

Business books I have loved

I thought I would enter some of the business books that have had an effect on me and then do some later entries on the books. Many of these books have been referred to me by Pete.

One great book was Jack Welch's story of his career at GE. Some key points from this book for me were: 1) Work like a startup in a large company; 2) Challenge the status quo; 3) focus on execution; 4) A PhD doesn't necessarily make you bad at business; 5) All you ever needed to know about business you could learn from your mother; 6) Reward innovation and it's better when people argue/discuss vociferously in meetings rather than sleep.

The key takeaway in "Built to Last", for me was the difference between executives that focus on execution and day to day issues rather than vision. The conclusion of the built to last authors was that you don't necessarily need to be a charismatic business personality to succeed as CEO. Rather, many of the successful leaders of successful business have focused on execution and operations.

Ok, so if you haven't read innovators dilemma, you probably haven't been in the software industry for the last five years. The main misuse of the central concepts of this book that I've seen is to justify hair brained schemes to people executing on a successful strategy.

"Crossing the Chasm," is again business 101 these days. From early adopters to main street, and how to target your product in the different stages of its life cycle.

"The Mind of the Strategist," covers basic business strategy. This is a good entrypoint for the technologist learing about business. There are some great points about fostering innovation, adapation and execution in large companies. Andrew Littlefield (our former Director of Product Management) recommended this book to Pete when he was thinking about Product Management.

Posted by Chris at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2004

Are interfaces necessary for web services?

So last night Pete, John and I went over to check out Technorati's web service offering at their hackathon. One interesting question that came up for me is, "are interfaces necessary for web services." If you take a look at technorati's offering of queries they essentially paramatrize a url and then return an xml document. This is a very straightforward way to query their data. However they don't expose any WSDL (or even SOAP). Does that matter? I think for a v 1.0 service it doesn't. Maybe you need a little more documentation to get your service off the ground, and you can't use any generic client tools like .NET or JAX-RPC, to work with it. This could limit your user base. In practice, for popular services it doesn't seem to limit your popularity because nice developers tend to write language specific bindings for your service in Python, Perl, Java etc. This seems like an easy quick way for sites to get off the ground providing a broad set of query methods.

There are some drawbacks however to not having a WSDL and to not using SOAP. (1) You are bound to HTTP; (2) If you version the contract how do you notify your clients? (3) Related to 1, no SOAP Headers; (4) No public contract other than your documentation.

Posted by Chris at 04:31 PM | Comments (1)

October 05, 2004

WebServices heating up

So It feels like web services are heating up. Google and Amazon have long standing web service APIs that get plenty of use. Here is a link to amazon's offering:


Sites like AllConsuming are integrating these sites.

Many startups have a WSDL/SOAP or RESTful API as a matter of course:

See technorati



It's not clear how much of the WS-* specs are being used here, but web services are clearly becoming the programmatic api to the web.

Posted by Chris at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)