The past 2 days I had the opportunity to join the Google OpenSocial developer team, along with other Silicon Valley and nationwide developers to celebrate the soon-to-be launched Orkut release to the public of OpenSocial apps at the Googleplex in San Francisco. The event started with an overview of OpenSocial, and went over some of the resources available to OpenSocial developers as well as a quick, “Hello World” example of an OpenSocial app on Orkut.Following that, it was up to the developers to code away, chat and meet with each other, ask the Google OpenSocial development team questions, and move forward, very fast on their apps. The goal was that by the end of the day, your OpenSocial application would be in a state, with the encouragement and approval of the OpenSocial team to be submitted to the Orkut directory. Those submitted yesterday would be available upon launch of the OpenSocial directory. (yesterday was the deadline for those to be included at launch, but you will continue to be able to submit throughout the launch)
While there, I was able to meet Adam Glickman, notorious for following perhaps the most people on Twitter, at 7000 (Adam, I should note that I have you beat in number of updates!). I also met, and chatted for a bit with Bess Ho, founder of the Silicon Valley Facebook Developers Garage, the Silicon Valley Web Builders, and a very strong evangelist and organizer of Social Media events in the Silicon Valley area. She was there developing her own app. We talked about collaborating further on some events between Silicon Valley and Utah in the future (stay tuned!).
The big buzz around the event was how one could better migrate a Facebook app to OpenSocial. One person pointed me to OpenSocket, which is intended to be code you can install on your Facebook app, essentially making it a container for OpenSocial code. So, in the future, ideally you would write your code in OpenSocial, and when you’re ready to port to Facebook you would simply place it on top of the OpenSocket container. I think you’ll see more things like this as OpenSocial launches. I’ll talk more on my opinions of why Facebook will need to implement OpenSocial in some capacity in a later post.
The event ended with a really great presentation from the project lead of the OpenSocial team – you might remember him as the Indian guy from the Campfire video at the OpenSocial launch. He showed User Experience and UI from a Google experience, with some really great tips on how to make your apps better. He suggested using the Orkut locality settings to set everything to a different language, and then seeing if you can navigate your app in a language you can’t understand. He also suggested breaking up your app – if it is 2 different ideas in one robust app, he suggested breaking it up into 2 different apps. He had some very interesting tips that I’ll try to incorporate into my own apps.
As for what I did? I wrote an app that allows you to track a group of people geographically close to you, send updates back and forth to that group, organize and collaborate, and find more people that are geographically close to you. I call it the, “Know Your Neighbor” app. I demo’d it at the end of yesterday, and got my cool T-Shirt to take home. Everyone had great response, so I have hopes it could be a hit. Then I submitted the app to the Orkut directory (ironically, Google uses the same “forms” system I talked about earlier for the app submission process. They are just collecting the app submission data in a Google spreadsheet somewhere), of which it will appear on the day of launch.
Look for the “Know Your Neighborhood” app on Orkut when it launches! As the other platforms launch I will be rolling it out to those platforms as well. SocialOptimize, my Social Media Development and Consulting Agency does OpenSocial development too – look us up if you would like some help building an OpenSocial strategy at your company!