Loads of new stuff from Yahoo! Developer Network for Open Hack Day

Lest you think our Yahoo! Open Hack Day was all about Beck (yes, it was really cool to have him), we also released an incredible stream of stuff for the hackers to play with while they were hanging out with us at Yahoo! There is nothing like a big event with a hacker rock star to mobilize the teams at Yahoo! to tackle the last 10% to get those releases pushed out! Here’s the list. This has been covered in many places already (I was happily buried with Open Hack Day stuff instead of blogging):

  • Browser-based authentication, or BBAuth: This is big. As Dave says, “If it’s easy to program, and delivers on what it says it does, this is a huge deal.” Agree or disagree with Dave, you have to listen. (see the YDN blog post and Dan Theurer’s post as well. It was Dan’s focus and tenacity that got this thing out. Thanks Dan!)
  • Yahoo! Photos API: combined with BBAuth, you can now write applications that have read/write access to users’ photos when they grant your application permission to work with their images. More on the YDN blog.
  • Upcoming PHP5 wrapper: Check out their post for all the details, but they delivered a PHP5 wrapper for their API and a couple of new method calls. Rock on (they’re hiring, too — Guitar Hero excellence preferred, but not required. Check out this photo of Beck with the giant Guitar Hero screen the Upcoming guys set up for Open Hack Day in the background).
  • Flickr support for JSON and Serialized PHP: Read all the details in Cal’s post to the yws-flickr group.
  • .NET Developer Center: A shout out to you Microsoft fans out there. Check it out.
  • Yahoo! Mail API: We gave everyone who came to Open Hack Day a crack at this API. Stay tuned for general release in a few months. This one is really exciting. Check out the News.com story for where things are headed.

The Yahoo! Developer Network team and our partners in the product teams around Yahoo! rocked harder than Beck did on Friday night to get this stuff out and put on our Open Hack Day, so the credit extends to hundreds of people inside Yahoo! for getting it done and to all the incredible hackers who jumped right in, built stuff (often side-by-side with the developers who built the APIs they were using), and gave us immediate feedback.

I’m totally sleep-deprived right now, so I’ll save any extended commentary for later — but the past few days have been among the most memorable and exciting in my life. It’s been that good.

Yahoo! Hack Day, with Beck — and special hacked video

First of all, suffice it to say that not blogging about Beck’s upcoming appearance at our first open Hack Day at Yahoo! was ABSOLUTELY KILLING ME. For various reasons, we had to keep it quiet. That being said, I was surprised that no one ever thought to look at my weekly top artists on last.fm for clues. While the speculation was in full swing, I was suddenly devouring my Beck back catalog in full public view. Amazing how all this transparency gets us nowhere sometimes.

I love Beck. On a trip to Hawaii once, back before everyone had an mp3 player, I managed to forget to bring any music along, so I found a record store and bought one CD: Odelay. It lasted me the whole trip — didn’t need anything else.

Of course, we worked our magic to get Beck because Beck is an awesome musician and artist, but we also knew that he was a hacker in his own right, and that was the greatest appeal (I got to spend a surprising an amount of time with him and his crew after the show, and Beck is a really down-to-earth guy — no rock star attitude whatsoever). Completely unbeknownst to us beforehand, Beck and his video guys hacked a special video for us that is as funny as it is clever. Check it out:


Thank you, Beck. You’re an awesome hacker.

(I’ll write more about this later, but the show at Yahoo! last night was one of the best rock shows I have seen, and I’ve been to quite a few.)

Matt McAlister joins Yahoo! Developer Network

There’s too much going on right now to post anything too lengthy, but suffice it to say that I am absolutely ecstatic that Matt McAlister has joined the Yahoo! Developer Network team. Read Matt’s post for more details.

Matt and I worked together very closely back at InfoWorld — working with Matt was one of the best parts of the job. We worked together on some innovative experiments there (e.g. rolling out RSS advertising ahead of the Google patent application on same) while having a lot of fun and pulling at least a couple of semi-delirious all-nighters in the process. We came to Yahoo! within two weeks of each other and had been working in different parts of the company — until now. I’m looking forward to great things working with Matt again. Welcome, Matt!

Yahoo! Hack Day: kicking off next Friday 9/29. Sign up!

Planning for the big open Yahoo! Hack Day that I wrote about three weeks ago is well underway, as it should be — we kick off next Friday, September 29 at 5pm, and man, we are EXCITED and have some amazing things in store. If you’re interested in attending, submit your information on the form at the bottom of the hackday.org homepage, or mark yourself as “attending” on the Upcoming page for the event. Space is limited and we’ll have to cut off signups before the event, so sign up now. We’re still issuing invites, so if you haven’t gotten one yet, don’t despair (for logistical reasons, though, we ask that you sign up and not crash so that we can plan appropriately, print out your name badges, etc.)

Also, don’t forget the free Friday developer workshop — here are all the details. To come to this, just fill out the form at the bottom of the hackday.org homepage and indicate that you want to attend the workshop.

YurtSo far, we’ve been contacted by hackers, designers, mimes (!), and at least one yurt enthusiast. Well, it takes a village to pull off a Hack Day, so if you’re coming, prepare yourself (and your yurt, if you so choose) for camping on the beautiful Yahoo! grass, good times with your hacker pals and the new ones you’ll meet, and the opportunity to demo your work in front of your peers and some other very cool people we’ll have there. Mike Arrington from TechCrunch is our emcee.

At this point we already have carloads of people coming from all over the Bay Area, planes from Canada, college students flying in from Florida, a strong Chicago contingent, and people from everywhere in between (one person is trying to make it in from Australia!)

If you’re coming and don’t know who you’re going to hack with, don’t fret — we’ll be doing on-site matchmaking and people like myself, Rasmus Lerdorf, Jeremy Zawodny, and many, many other sharp Yahoos will be on-hand to help you as well.

For more details, check out these resources:

We’ll be posting ongoing updates on the Hack Day blog. Stay tuned!

Product manager job is filled / LinkedIn becomes essential

For those of you who saw the Product Manager job at the Yahoo! Developer Network that I posted to LinkedIn (and got posted to CrunchBoard by someone), that position has been filled. I’ll announce soon.

Thanks to everyone who contacted me. There were many excellent applicants and I hope to be getting back in touch with many of you in the coming weeks as I hear of other opportunities at Yahoo! My apologies in advance for not being able to get back to everyone personally.

Incidentally, although I’ve been a user of LinkedIn for about 2.5 years now and I’ve always thought it was “cool” (I even wrote about it in my old InfoWorld column), I had never found the service absolutely essential, but this particular hiring experience suggests that it will be in the future, even though the person who ultimately got the job didn’t come directly through LinkedIn. Still, it’s clear to me that LinkedIn is the most efficient way to reach out to my personal network and get in touch with quality people.

Yahoo! Hack Day: opening up Yahoo! itself

Ever since I organized the first Hack Day at Yahoo, people have been saying, “wouldn’t it be cool if you opened it up?” Guess what? That’s exactly what we’re doing — opening Yahoo! itself up, and in a big way. I’ve been to and helped organize internal Yahoo! Hack Days on three continents now and I’ve witnessed the incredible fun and creative energy firsthand, so opening up Hack Day was one of the first things I wanted to do when I started running the Yahoo! Developer Network.

Check out all the details on hackday.org, just launched yesterday. The fun begins on Friday, September 29 with an all-day developer workshop where we’ll be teaching you how to do real stuff with some of the tools from the Yahoo! Developer Network. That evening, we’ll kick off the Hack Day itself (the coding part) with some music that will go into the wee hours (if you need quiet areas to hack, we’ll have that for you). Don’t worry about how you’re going to get home, because you’ll be able to pitch a tent at Yahoo! (see our campus in the photo) to get a bit of rest before the fun continues on Saturday, where we’ll have demos on Saturday afternoon/evening, followed by even more high-quality entertainment (stay tuned). Mike Arrington from TechCrunch will be our MC (thanks, Mike). It’s going to rock — we guarantee it.

All this is being organized with the help and advice of Yahoo! hackers themselves — everyone is pitching in to put this thing on. If you don’t work at Yahoo! and want to be help out, let me know (just put “chadd” and “yahoo-inc.com” together and drop me a line).

We will have limited space, so let us know if you’re interested in attending by filling out the form at hackday.org.

Major thanks to two folks on the Yahoo! Developer Network team: Kent Brewster for the design and Vernon Marshall for the backend stuff. Also, a big thanks to everyone at all levels Yahoo! who not only approved all of our strange requests, they did it enthusiastically.

More on this Yahoo! Hack Day:

More on past Yahoo! Hack Days can be found in my del.icio.us bookmarks, tagged “hackday+yahoo.”

(Photo of Yahoo! campus by Premshree Pillai, one of the best hackers at Yahoo!)

Tags: hackday, yahoo

One year anniversary at Yahoo!

Today is my one-year anniversary at Yahoo! I could write a really long post looking back at my first year at Yahoo!, but suffice it to say that I like the people I work with, the work continues to be challenging in a good way, my management rocks, and we’re in a competitive industry where the only thing we can depend on is constant change (perfect for the neophiliac in me). Add in the honor of either organizing or just helping out with Hack Days on three different continents in one six-month stretch alone, and this has been a pretty exciting year at work.

(photo by Roger Butterfield, licensed via Creative Commons)

Python developer center launch at YDN

In these times of snakes on planes, it seems fitting that we launched the Python Developer Center today on the Yahoo! Developer Network. The Python Developer Center was put together by Simon Willison (Simon also posted on the YDN blog).

This is timely for me, because like Jeremy, I’m beginning to learn Python after being a Perl guy for a long time (with a little PHP thrown in in recent years). I had some mild tangles with Python back in 1997 or so when we used the Ultraseek search engine at CNN, but I never got very deep into it. Now’s my chance!

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