Yahoo’s Doing Just Fine, Thank You

I had the opportunity to attend Yahoo’s second Open Hack Day at the Sunnyvale, CA campus. This was my first time visiting and I was impressed. It’s a big campus, with several buildings, a cafeteria with better food than some restaurants, free sodas, a fitness center that could rival certain fitness chains, and of course, purple chairs with yellow trim. How could you ask for anything more?

How about a 24-hour hack fest complete with kegs, old-school video games, an outdoor concert, and an open, collaborative, community atmosphere for developing the next great application? That’s what Open Hack Day is all about. Over 400 attendees registered for the event and 40 of them signed up for a camping spot on the Yahoo lawn. Walking around on Friday afternoon, I spotted giant bins filled with purple Frisbees, basketballs, and racks of T-shirts and pullovers. Yahoo really pulled out all the stops to keep the developers entertained while they worked (they call this work?) on their hacks.

During the press conference, Yahoo executives updated the media on the Yahoo Developer Network. The short of it is: Yahoo is alive and kicking. The executives presented us with a laundry list of API’s and applications that developers can use in their every day work—some of which I had no idea Yahoo even owned.

Let me list just a few: MyBlogLog, Delicious, FireEagle, SearchMonkey, BOSS, Flickr, and YUI. A developer can build a fairly sophisticated web site using the Yahoo User Interface (YUI) library, which is a set of utilities and controls, written in JavaScript, for building richly interactive web applications using techniques such as DOM scripting, DHTML, and AJAX. An extremely brief demonstration left me impressed.

During my visit, I was handed a map of the Yahoo Developer Network. I found it interesting that Yahoo lists Open Social, My Space, and Google on their map. Yahoo connects to Google through Yahoo’s address book APIs, MyBlogLog, and Yap. Why would Yahoo advertise Google on a list of their web services? Perhaps Yahoo truly does want to foster open, collaborative, community-oriented development for the web.

Check out Yodel Anecdotal for more information on Open Hack Day, including a link to the list of winners.

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