Another Call for OpenSocial App Thoughts

Last week, I asked you what OpenSocial apps you’d like to see in the Connect (and eventually Mix) app directory.

Which seeded apps? Any apps you’d like to build or see built? And generally, are you stoked about OpenSocial apps?

Not much in the comments, but somehow, I think there’s interest out there.

OpenSocial is a big deal for us because:

  • It allows people to build what they want, in their language of choice. OK maybe not in BASIC or Pascal, but you get the idea.
  • It allows users to customize the Connect or Mix experience, adding as many or as few apps as they want.
  • It allows developers to harness the social goodness of an existing network without growing their own community.
  • Apps are largely portable to any container, allowing the app developer to write once and deploy to many different containers.

And there are more containers popping up all the time. Dan over at the OpenSocial API blog, which you should also read for OpenSocial happenings and goodness, lists the live and soon to be live OpenSocial containers:

Live Right Now

  • Webon
  • hi5
  • IDtail
  • MySpace
  • orkut
  • Hyves
  • iGoogle
  • imeem
  • Netlog
  • CityIN
  • Tianya
  • Shindig sample
  • Ning
  • Plaxo Pulse

This list includes how to get started with each of the live containers.

Launching Soon

  • AOL
  • Friendster
  • LinkedIn
  • Netlog
  • Yahoo!

For more information, check out the “Meet the Containers” video and slides from Google I/O, which Anthony attended back in late May.

So, Connect may be the first OpenSocial container to go live inside a corporate firewall, which is pretty cool. This will give prospective developers a safety blanket environment for building OpenSocial apps. Remember the hidden demand for social networking we observed when we launched Connect a year ago?

I expect we’ll see similar demand among the numerous developers here. In a lot of ways, launching OpenSocial will be OpenLab, Part II, without the “hey, learn Rails and get back to us” step.

I hope to see lots of activity in our directory, ideally with a nice mix of apps, including social, just for fun, enterprisey, productivity, integrations with existing apps. All that good stuff.

It’s tough starting from an empty bucket though, and happily, we’ve had some help from our pals at Google, who helped me sort out the finer points of gadgets and such.

OpenSocial is open source, and Google has contributed a host of gadgets to the project. So, we now have a menu of gadgets and OpenSocial apps at our fingertips for inclusion in our fledgling directory. A menu with more than 45,000 items, which seems like a lot. That’s even bigger than the Cheesecake Factory menu, I think.

So, I’m no longer concerned that we’ll have an empty app directory. Maybe you noticed some gadgets in Rich’s mockup of the app detail page yesterday. We’re glad to have a huge library of gadgets to choose from when we launch.

It would be awesome to have user-contributed apps in the directory when we launch. Our pals in APAC have built a few apps already, including an integration with an internal blogging instance and a FriendFeed app. I’ve been trying to rally Noel Portugal to buld an OpenSocial version of his OraTweet.

I’d love to include an OpenSocial app from Eddie that ties together his Oracle Community on Ning with our container on Mix. Of course, we’d be happy to build one for his use over there too. Two containers using OpenSocial to tie together the Oracle communtiy at large. Nice visual.

What do you think of all this? Find the comments and be heard.




  1. We can sync up later in the year for sure; we'll get some experience under our belts with Connect. Then, we can meet to brainstorm some ideas and build something cool that will benefit both communities.

    There are some obvious areas for integration, since our membership probably overlaps a lot. Maybe syncronizing profiles? Or networks and invites? Lots of possibilities.

  2. Jake, Is on my list of “to do”. Question, how are you containing inside the firewall right now?

  3. Connect lives inside the firewall, and so when we deploy the OpenSocial container, it will also live inside the firewall as part of Connect.

    We will be able to host apps originating both in/outside the firewall b/c OS apps handle their own processing and infrastructure requirements (data, h/w, bandwidth, etc.).

    In the case of OraTweet, your OS app surfaces OraTweet into Connect, and your backend still handles the processing, including the data exchanges with Twitter.

    The OS container provides the social network and surfaces the app; the app does its own processing, stores its own data and leverages the network.

    No fuss, no mess.

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