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November 02, 2005

Local Event Browser Demo

leb1.gifOn my second day at Yahoo, I got together with some smart people (Jonathan Trevor, Samantha Tripodi, and Karon Weber) and we started talking about building a small demo using some external APIs that were in development. During the day we came up with a bunch of ideas about what we could do and we ended up choosing the event browser concept that you see here.

As we were hacking on this, I started noticing Dare and Jon Udell’s posts about events. Dare’s point about needing a killer app for consuming events really resonated with me. You can get at event data, but you really need a good way for users to explore that data. This demo isn’t that killer app, but I think it does get across some interesting ideas.

IMO, the coolest thing about the demo is that it’s all Javascript and we built it really quickly just using Yahoo’s external APIs and dealing with everything in the browser. The bulk of the data we access is the event data and as it’s pulled down using XHR, the code wrapping the event API will fire events to the widgets. The widgets themselves just register as listeners to specific events. The tag cloud is only listening for new tags, for example.

One of the problems we had were that there were no images in our event feed. We knew we wanted to get images from either Flickr or Yahoo Image Search but it wasn’t immediately obvious how we would get an image from a phrase like “Highlights of the Textiles Permanent Collection at the MH De Young Memorial Museum”. It was another Yahoo, Toby Elliott, who suggested that we use the Content Analysis API and then Image Search. Honestly, I didn’t even know Yahoo had term extraction as a public API. To get the images you see in the demo I concatenate the title and venue to get the most important terms extracted and then use that as the image query. The first thumbnail gets used as the photo for each event. It’s really simple code on my end and all the real work is done by the term extraction service. My favorite example for images is the De Young Museum’s list of events.

Take a look at the demo,click around, drag the map, and let me know what you think.

Update:
Jeremy Zawodny has some nice things to say about the Local Event Browser
YSB announcement with all the new Maps API links

Posted by edward at November 2, 2005 10:54 PM

Comments

Very very clever stuff using the term extraction to match up the images. Any chance you can get it working in the UK?

Posted by: Tom at November 3, 2005 05:50 AM

The Yahoo! Maps team rocks after releasing new version of Yahoo! Maps and adding new APIs! The new set of services is really what I need and what I expected to have for the MapBuilder.net and other mapping project development.

I did not check out yet but think that Yahoo! Geocoding API will beat all existing Geocoders.* or force them to create better service. But as far as most of Geocoders.* have been created without proven business model, it will be tough time for them to compete with Yahoo! Geocoding API.

I'm looking forward to play with new Yahoo!Map API features and implement something new and cool in the http://www.mapbuilder.net/ - service with mapping user interface which allows users to build custom maps without any knowledge of any existing map APIs.

Posted by: Andrew Bidochko at November 3, 2005 06:54 AM

Cool stuff Edward!

It would be awesome if this would work in Opera on a mobile phone! That's so I can browse and check out what is going on close to where I am currently located.

Posted by: Phil at November 3, 2005 06:34 PM