Feeds

Yahoo! begs world+dog for free engineering

'Opens' code for social networking's dying breath

Remote control for virtualized desktops

After announcing last week that it will lay off 1,400 employees, Yahoo! managers have birthed a new strategy that could recoup much of its soon-to-be-lost engineering talent: Get somebody else to do the work for free.

Today, the Sunnyvale-based stagnant engineer pond officially released what it's calling Yahoo! Open Strategy (Y!OS) 1.0, an "open platform" allowing third-party developers to build applications that tap into existing Yahoo! user data. For your own safety and that of others around you, please try to contain your excitement.

This new API allows programmatic access to things like Yahoo! Movies ratings or the Yahoo! Mail address book. Yahoo's expectation is that things will go back to the way they used to be and entrepreneurs will once again be able to find investment money for social networking applications. Once this time shift happens, Yahoo! can provide the tools and data to build the next Facebook and will be handsomely rewarded with a heaping helping of relevance.

In the name of abstractions that are just far enough removed from what you're familiar with to be irritating, Yahoo! intends for us to access social data by the Yahoo! Query Language, which is similar to SQL. You can think of the different social data sources as tables and issue SELECT statements like this:

SELECT * FROM social.profile WHERE guid in (SELECT guid FROM social.connections WHERE owner_guid=me)

In the rest of the world, we'd call that a JOIN, but Yahoo! marches to the beat of a different drum. Interfacing with Yahoo's servers is done via REST, which is the flavor of the month when it comes to web APIs.

To distribute your application on Yahoo! properties, you use the Yahoo! Application Platform, which defines a set of specialized tags to format your program's output, and Yahoo will render the actual HTML on their servers. If this sounds a little convoluted, it is: Sandboxing someone else's code is a fun project for Yahoo engineers, but the utility of it is questionable.

Releasing an interface like this allows the Big Y to tap the outside talent pool without paying it, which is an ingenious strategy for a company that's about to dump 10 per cent of its workforce. While we don't yet know what groups are going to be hardest hit by the layoffs, it's fairly obvious from this announcement that the Department of Coming Up With Shit To Do will be suffering serious losses.

Opening up the data is one of the horsemen of the apocalypse for Yahoo!, showing definitively that while they may have good engineers on staff, they have nobody capable of directing them. In a canned statement, likely-still-employed Yahooligan Jay Rossiter said, "This is very much an initial release. But we’re anxious to see what developers out there have up their sleeves and what you’ll do with it."

Which, roughly translated, means "There are probably bugs and inconsistencies in this, but that shouldn't stop you from helping to make the world remember that we still exist." Some developers will likely take advantage of this opportunity, but what remains to be seen is how many of them monetize their new product with Google AdSense.

You can learn more here. ®

Ted Dziuba is a co-founder at Milo.com You can read his regular Reg column, Fail and You, every other Monday.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.