Site Integration - Maps, Music, Chat and Sound

Site Integration - Maps, Music, Chat and Sound

I have been playing with techniques for site integration for a little while and have some interesting samples that are worth cataloging.

We all know that Web Services and B2B are the primary architectural vehicles for integrating computer systems but its not what is visible in the real world. Certainly we are building web services and certainly they serve to integrate systems but to the internet culture as a whole they are an irrelevance.

Let me say it this way. Corporations use B2B techniques to seamlessly integrate symbiotic features. Web Site builders use other techniques to integrate user experiences.

Perhaps we could look at the two as layers of the same cake. An internet user experiences features presented to them. Some of those features might require Web Services to achieve their goal but the user integration of experiences is a "higher" level integration.

Ok, so I can't explain it. Lets go with some examples. These are all on my home page.


Frappr allows us to share graphical locations and present them as a map. A piece of this map can be integrated onto your web site. The XP Cincinnati site integrated this information into a blog entry.

They use simple javascript to link the two sites together.

Odeo Blogging

Odeo has developed a technology that allows us to record sound and publish that sound. Most use it for blogging but I have heard that some are using it to record and publish their music as well.

I have an Odeo blog and this allows me to record snippets of sound and then integrate that sound into my web site.

In this case the integration is achieved with an object tag that runs a some flash. The parameters point to the recorded mp3 that is stored on the Odeo site.

last.fm Music Listening

last.fm is a music tracking site. It supplies you with plugins for winamp, Media Player and others that will send the name of the music you are playing to their site. This can then be retrieved in a variety of formats to your website so that your customers can see what music you are playing at that moment.

This uses a little pseudo javascript insert that retrieves the HTML necessary to list your music.

Instant Messaging or Instant Talk

There are lots of features that allow you to publish your Instant Message online status to your web site but I was focusing on Skype since it includes the voice and video features that will ultimately become part of the communication applications of the future.

This site uses a little javascript with a new embedded protocol "skype:" so if you have an anchor with "skype:Edward Sumerfield?call" in it and you have the skype client installed then clicking on it will call me.


I think this point has been made in other blogs already but it doesn't hurt repeating. The primary site integration tool is javascript since it is the glue code that allows countless disparate technologies to interact.

If you are developing any kind of user interface tool today. Make very sure that you are including your javscript hooks. It will allow your tool to become integrated in ways that you can not imagine.


Agile Set Me Free

My current client is thinking about adopting a more Agile approach to software development. We have had initial discussions and passed out books to read. We have been running an XP project for them for 6 months so they have all witnessed its success.

Someone found an article written in July 2002 that goes to town discrediting XP. So, I need to spend time trying to understand this 4 your old paper and trying to explain where it is misunderstanding the Agile proposals.

This is when it hit me. All the comments the author makes fall into one category. Fear. Fear of change. Fear that iterations make projects unmanageable. Fear that less documentation will cripple the maintenance effort. Fear that Test Driven Development will not produce a perfect object model. All of the answers stem from the base feelings that we have developed over years of working with requirements that changed and software that we kept on finding bugs in. We have beaten ourselves up so much about how little discipline we have and how bad we are at talking to the customer that we can't imagine that the opposite approach might be better. We are just not good enough to execute the perfect process we have been working at all these years.

All the complaints I read about Agile take everything it says at face value and fail to see the depth that it is suggesting. Release early is miss-read as ignore requirements. Allow the customer to change requirements is miss-read as never knowing what you are about to release. Don't write irrelevant documentation is immediately the terrifying idea that there will be no documentation.

So much confusion from simple, practical improvements in a process.

Agile is a liberation of our freedom to produce great software. Agile is a reconnecting with the essence that is writing software to solve business problems. Agile gives us the excuse to succeed when all we had before was more disappointed customers and another bug to fix.

Dam this job could be depressing. I have always loved programming but hated the job. It never made any sense until Agile opened my eyes. Actually, to be more specific, Mark Windholts opened my eyes when he pitched the test first practice to CinJug. Dude, you rock.