Thursday, September 29, 2011

BlackBerry Hackathon in 8 Cities

This is RIM's BBM app hackathon in

  • Toronto: October 6th and 7th
  • Chicago: October 10th and 11th
  • San Francisco: October 16th and 17th (just in time for BlackBerry DevCon Americas 2011!)
  • Boston: November 3rd and 4th
  • Jakarta: November 14th and 15th
  • Bangkok: November 17th and 18th
  • London, England: November 19th and 20th
  • Amsterdam: November 23rd and 24th

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

AR.Drone API Platform

I bet you didn't know there is even an API for AR.Drone! (in case you didn't know what that cool toy is, it is a remote control quadricopter with video feedback)

Check it out at if you want to develop apps that controls your AR.Drone. It even supports iPhone platform.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Square COO: There’s no value in NFC, and not Square API yet

The COO of Square, a mobile payment startup, talked about NFC's zero value proposition, and claimed no merchant he talked to wants this NFC thingy.

He also said:
But don’t expect Square to be a platform or API any time soon — Rabois said that because they are trying to make the transaction as simple as possible, it might not lend itself to an open API.
So no open API yet as they try to redefine the product.

That is a correct strategy for any product that wants to become a platform/API. Make your product really simple and tuned for the market FIRST.

Duzzit, a Yahoo! Pipes Framework

If you have seen Yahoo! Pipes before, you would have wondered how they do it.

Look forward to, which is a framework that let developers create this kind of rewiring of components.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Twilio Connect, is similar to Facebook Connect

Twilio has been leading the communication space. Their value proposition has always been making it dead easy for developers to build Voice & SMS apps.

Today, they are making it even easier by introducing Twilio Connect. Just like Facebook Connect (also an OAuth login), you can use Twilio Connect to log in a Twilio account, and make phone calls and send SMS via that account. Of course, you charge to that account.

Developers can now build their apps, and let users pay via their own Twilio account. This solve a billing problem to developers.

This sounds like a great feature. However, this also means developers would not be able to markup for the voice minutes and SMS sent from the app. Moreover, Twilio is not doing any revenue share with developers using Twilio Connect.

This is unlike BlueVia Connect, which does revenue sharing.

Find out more about Twilio Connect here:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Google+ Hangout API

Google just announced their Hangout API for Google+.

Checkout how to write an app from their documentation. Includes sample code for a voting widget.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Live Chat on a Website

There are many services providing live chat plugin to a website. Live chat is pretty useful for connecting to your website visitors. A website owner can use it to chat with visitors, or to provide sales support etc.

There is a comprehensive list at socialcompare. Missing from the list is Meebo, who has also jump onto the bandwagon.

I have tried a few in my websites. If I were to recommend, it would be Olark.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Free API management tool

When designing API for a web service, the first decision is not about trivial things such as to use JSON or XML, or to use RESTful or SOAP. 

API providers should first decide about using API management tools that offers them a package –  developer portal, security access control, analytics & reporting, billing, etc is one tool that provides that. At less than 50 requests per day, it is free. Pretty meager, but ya, it is free.

(anway, JSON and RESTful should be the modern way to go)

Fly Letter (China 飞信) SMS API

Fly Letter (飞信) is a China telecom service.

They have an SMS API too! With that, SMS can be sent for free to China mobile subscribers!

Monitor 51 Popular APIs, including Amazon, Google, Twilio

Developers constantly need to care about API uptime. 

If you use popular APIs such as Amazon, Google, twitter, etc.. then is a website that you want to bookmark.

Of course, they provide an api to query their api-status too.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Realtime Mobile Marketing using Playhaven

Playhaven is a platform that helps iPhone developer that drives app marketing.

An app developer usually find themselves needing to send promotional messages to their users – to increase usage, or to have them download a new app.

Playhaven helps to do these cross promotions easily by providing their platform.

If you an iPhone developer, I highly recommend you think about how you want to send marketing message to your users, and take a look at Playhaven. It saves you hell out of developing a marketing mechanism.

Wiring Library (like Yahoo Pipes)

If you have played with services such as Yahoo! Pipes, you would be amazed at how the website is created.

Coding is not easy, but Yahoo! Pipes has made it seems easy, by using a drag-and-drop graphical interface, piping components to components, feeding inputs and getting outputs. It is one of the most awesome tool I have seen.

To create such service, you can take a look at WireIt, a javascript wiring library.

WireIt is an open-source javascript library to create web wirable interfaces for dataflow applications, visual programming languages, graphical modeling, or graph editors. With the library, you can create apps such as Interactive Voice Responses (IVR) phone menu.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Global AWS Start-Up Challenge 2011

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is organizing a startup challenge.

The entry period is from August 1, 2011 and ends on October 2, 2011.

If you have any idea that uses Amazon cloud product, you are in for the grand prize of $50,000 cash, and another $50,000 AWS credits.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Google Data API - New Objective-C Library

In this release, they have added new services – Tasks, Books, Latitude and URL shortener.

If you are building iPhone/iPad apps, or Mac apps, you ought to check out this library.

Friday, September 2, 2011

InfoChimps + Geo Data

InfoChimps is a great API provider, with lots of data.

They have recently announced a huge API release with Geo Data

They is a pretty exciting release. Now, with an API request, you can get Wiki articles, Foursquare places, weather, etc, of a particular place!

Profanity Word Check API

Yes, there is even an API for that.

Instead of checking up a word in the dictionary, and asking experts in English vocabulary if the word is a profanity, you can check up with a simple API.

This service is provided by WDYL (What Do You Love), which is basically a search among Google. Not surprisingly, the profanity dictionary is determined by Google.

Google App Engine: Increased Pricing

Google App Engine has announced going out of preview (when were they considered a preview anyway?). 

In doing so, they have introduced a new pricing – in other words, increased pricing.

Some developers felt they are forced to leave the service, because for them, the cost would have increased threefold, or 30 folds which killed service like PlusFeed. If you are one of the "victim", you might want to share your experience in this discussion.

Personally, I use App Engine for various small web apps and websites. Fortunately, I am not affected, because my apps have small usage.. If this change affected me, say if I need to pay $9/mth, I will feel cheated by Google. This is because App Engine has been widely regarded as a cloud platform offered by Google, for free. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Interactive Doc Framework by Mashery

We covered a cool interactive doc by Wordnik not long ago.

The trend seems to be building awesome documentation, which not only contains necessary information, but also pleasing to test with. Welcome to the world of interactive documentation!

Wordnik ain't the only one. Posterous has a good one too. And Mashery makes life easier for API provider, creating a framework – IO Docs.

The awesome news is here: IO Docs is open sourced.

Therefore, go ahead and create your interactive doc. You can refer to more Mashery's demo, or also showcase such as SimpleGeo and YellowApi.