These are the notes I took during Cal Henderson’s talk on Building Flickr at the Future of Web Applications conference in London on Wednesday 8th February.
Lars Ploughman posted a great mind map of the talk.
- Try and figure out what people need; this is not always what they say they need.
- Network effect: When people get their friends to sign up, it makes their experience better.
- Instead of always grouping data by user, we can slice it in other interesting ways:
- Most recently uploaded
- Most popular
- By tag
- By weighted ‘interestingness’ algorithm
By API the Web 2.0 people mean a web service API: REST, SOAP, XML RPC, etc. You need an API to for your web client anyway, so clean it up and make it public.
The evolution is: web site -> web application -> web service
Don’t expose internals or physical structure on the URL. They should reflect a consistent, logical structure, the way the user thinks about it. mod_rewrite enables this. URLs should never change, otherwise you break links.
It’s Asynchronous. It streamlines user interactions.
Internationalisation and Localisation. Store, present and receive all textual data as UTF-8.
Desktop / Platform integration
Backed by the API. With an API for your app, you can write desktop apps. Some interactions on the web are difficult and/or slow (such as uploading lots of pictures). Desktop apps can have drag and drop for example.
It doesn’t have to be a full fledged desktop app – use Bookmarklets, Firefox plugins, etc.
Integrate with e-mail; every user has it and uses it daily. It’s often difficult to get data off mobile phones, but they can do e-mail, so provide an e-mail uploader. Send e-mail notifications.
They mostly support XHTML-Mobile, a cut down version of XHTML. Build custom pages for mobiles because the screens are so small. Re-think what is on the page. Cut down as much as possible.
Allow users to import / export their data. Include the meta-data as well. This makes people feel safer about using your service.
When a user uploads something, they still own it. They still control the licensing.