IamCaltrain.com launches on new Yahoo Maps API

Flickr Photo Download: IamCaltrain Launches on new Yahoo Maps APICal and I teamed up on IamCaltrain, the easiest way to plot your daily Caltrain trip and figure out when the next train is coming. I’m really pysched about this little app and hope to continue to improve it over the next couple weeks (and at the upcoming SHDH).

Mashing up the APIs

Of course this is only yet another example of what is becoming the de facto standard behavior towards remixable web apps. Just check out Yahoo’s Maps API Application Gallery. Even the New York Times are picking up on this trend, writing about a recent Pew study that claims that 57 percent of all teenagers between 12 and 17 who are active online – about 12 million – create digital content, from building Web pages to sharing original artwork, photos and stories to remixing content found elsewhere on the Web. (emphasis mine)

In discussing Yahoo’s new pretty maps, Robert Scoble brings up another idea that I think is worth mentioning… mashing up the design of other APIs. While he cites a number of reasons Google’s maps are going to win the coming advertising war (think Minority Report on the web), there’s a far more interesting aspect to this story that I also hope to explore at this Saturday’s SHDH:  that of reusing the design of popular APIs to push the adoption and use of open source tools.

While some might argue that this is commonplace in open source already (for a pertinent example, AGPL’d CiviCRM has both an API for Drupal and Mambo/Joomla and makes use of the Google Maps API), I’m suggesting that there are new opportunities to build publishing apps that use existing, working APIs to publish to open source content management backends. The primary example I have in mind would use the Flickr API to publish media (primarily photos) to Drupal or WordPress using existing tools.

While the goal is not to necessarily achieve the same socially rich experience that Flickr offers, it would be quite useful to jumpstart the wider behavior of publishing photos to open systems — bypassing Flickr when you have more mundane or private image hosting needs.

So what I want is Gallery, the Drupal Image module (walkah, you listening?), or a WordPress plugin to reimplement the Flickr API and allow me to use 1001 to upload my photos to any of the sites that I participate in. This would be a boon for sites like DeviantArt or even print shops Zazzle, but also my humble little blog. Rasmus went and wrapped the API in PHP, but what I want is something that actually allows me to publish to any site — not just Flickr’s. Any takers?

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Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: Molly.com (YC W18), Uber, Google.

9 thoughts on “IamCaltrain.com launches on new Yahoo Maps API”

  1. Drupal, I think, already leads the way in this. The Gallery API (which has an iPhoto Plugin) was cloned in Drupal, so you could point the plugin at your Drupal site.

    The same thing was done with the Upcoming.org API in Drupal.

    The one thing that is required is for app makers to make it somewhat easy to edit the endpoint. I imagine it is fairly difficult to change 1001 to remove the http://www.flickr.com address.

    In some ways, what you ask for is implemented not at the script level, but at the application level. I route all pictures through iPhoto, and as long as it has multiple API/plugins available, I can publish to multiple locations. So, the previous iPhoto to Gallery plugin takes care of Gallery and Drupal, the MetaWebLog API-powered Photon goes to Drupal and any other blogging system that supports the API, and of course Fraser Speirs’ FlickrExport does Flickr for me.

  2. You’re spot-on with your suggestion to reimplement the whole API for Druapal (and others). This is what Stephan Jaensch did for the Upcoming.org API as part of the Summer of Code. I still maintain that people haven’t generally made the mind shift that this will require: “My site can do what Flickr does. My site can do what Upcoming.org does. My site can talk directly with your site and share events, photos, etc.” Furthermore, there are now so many great APIs out there… I want to see the del.icio.us API for Drupal. And of course, I want to be able to publish against any of these APIs directly from Flock 😉

  3. Gallery has had a web service API for waaay longer than flickr and while its a little clunky at times, it does a pretty darn good job. F-Spot has built-in support for it, iPhoto might (don’t know if they’re keeping feature-parity with the other players in their space) and (since I use Gallery) at some point I’ll implement support for it in Flock 🙂

  4. @Robert: Exactly. But I would recommend something a little richer than the delicious API — something that maybe has privacy and a mechanism for synching… There’s been talk of something like a atom based API — I’ll have to find the link…

    @Matt: Almost like blogging the cat.

    @Ian: looking forward to it.

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  6. Spotted a bug: it’s serving up a weekday schedule, even though today is Saturday. Other than that, I think it’s awesome! This will come in so handy when I am taking the Caltrain up to TehSpace. 😉

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