Tag Archives: Google Maps

Top 5 Web 2.0 development technologies to watch in 2008

I was asked to advise a budding web developer on what technologies to get into for 2008. Here’s the list I gave her. Would you agree?
1. Maps API’s – there is probably enough work around just integrating mapping into people’s web sites for them. (Google, Yahoo and 192.com all have APIs)
2. Drupal – lots of people need intranets and drupal works really well for this – most of the work is configuration rather than hard programming
3. Silverlight / ASP.net – this is the top of the range one – Microsoft release Surface next year, likely to drive demand for apps in this technology.
4. Facebook Platform – it feels like flavour of the month I know but it’s so wonderful it’s likely to be around for a while.
5. Netvibes UWA – Netvibes have a universal widget architecture that actually works on lots of different platforms – saves having to write widgets several times (see illustration)

Have your say, why not comment to this note on your top five web 2 technologies to watch in 2008.

What’s an API and why it’s important – part 1

The nitty gritty of Web 2.0 is all aboutthe “API” – that’s short for Application Programming Interface.

API’s are the new doors into software programmes and web sites that allow other software programmes to “talk” to them without human interaction.

If you imagine the software as a big building, then the front entrance would be the “user interface” (where we all use the software i.e. when we browse the web), then the “application interface” is like the delivery entrance, where deliveries are sent. It’s another door to the same building but for a different type of building user. In this case its a door made for other computers instead of people.

An Application Programming Interface (API) allows other software applications to put information in, get information out and use services as if they were real users. For example the Google Maps API allows other applications to send a list of longitude and latitude coordinates and it will return a map with markers on each of those coordinates. Check out this Google Map ‘mash-up’ of World Bank country data to see what APIs can make easy.

APIs are not all created equal – some are wonderful and some are downright difficult to use.

As a web 2 programmer I deal with APIs on a daily basis. In my next blog post I’ll explain some of the ways to evaluate whether an API is any good, before you decide to use it.

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