Web 2.0 and Open APIs

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Conference Panel at Wizard of OS 2006

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Video at http://phalacrocorax.informatik.hu-berlin.de/sa/10_10h_OpenAPIs.ogg

Audio at http://phalacrocorax.informatik.hu-berlin.de/sa/10_10h_OpenAPIs_audio.ogg


"Today the great saga of Open Source is accompanied by a couple of narratives like "Web 2.0" and the "long tail economy." A short definition of Web 2.0 is that all applications are software services independent of a certain desktop. And the short path for the long tail is that most of this economy resides in niche applications.

A lot of software services are not "open." Amazon might be build on the LAMP-stack, but is certainly no open source, even if you have access to their source code. Google is not open, it builds on a culture of secrecy. Yet Amazon and Google provide us with hooks to their services. Authors can blog their books within the sphere of Amazon, people can do mashups with Google maps.

The same applies to Web 2.0-applications like Flickr which are running in some Internet cloud. You have the freedom to store your photo, but if you want to do something more, you have to pay for the Flickr API, which is not free.

The same applies to the idea of long tail economy. Within Web 2.0, developers are coding stuff for some tiny minority which may be useful in the long run. If their work depends on a mesh of different technologies and applications, they must stay away from the licensing and API traps.

The Open API panel will discuss the implications of software services and Open APIs.

First, Harald Alvestrand will give an overview of the IETF discussion and standardization process. After all, these are the forces that gave birth to an open internet as the foundation layer of Web 2.0.

Then Stefan Richter of freenigma will give some insights. Freenigma is a new privacy approach for Web 2.0, with an open API for everybody who wants to have encryption in his service. But there is more that just the question of Open APIs and how they are used by developers. As a mashup, the AJAX-based Freenigma analyses the HTML-presentation and the structuere of sites like Googlemail, Hotmail or Yahoo Mail. What about the Copyrights and the 'terms of service'? Are they violated with this approach?" (http://www.wizards-of-os.org/en/program/panels/rules_amp_tools_of_freedom/open_apis.html)