Tuesday, 18 April 2006
Three Months at Yahoo!
I’m quickly coming up on three months as a Yahoo, and a bunch of people have been asking me how things are going, as well as what I’m doing.
In a nutshell, I’m having more fun than should be legal. My biggest problem is prioritising cool things to do! Anitra thinks I’m still in the honeymoon, but I’ve seen enough companies in Silicon Valley to know a good one when I see it.
It is incredibly liberating to be at a consumer-focused, Web-based company. The people are technically outstanding, and yet the culture is open to new ideas and very positive. Frankly, Yahoo hides its light under a bushel.
As to what I’m doing, I’m part of a group working on the infrastructure of a horizontal platform for all of the Media properties (e.g., news, finance, movies, tv, sports, music). The decision was made early on to use HTTP (RESTful, Web-Style, choose your term) Web services rather than SOAP, and we’ve been very busy working on tools, documentation, and design reviews to make that happen.
I talked a little bit about this at the W3C Technical Plenary [pdf] last month; expect to see more soon.
I’m finding the different groups here to be fantastically receptive to our approach; in turn, actually walking the walk as well as talking the REST talk is forcing me to be ruthlessly pragmatic about what the real benefits — and problems — of using REST and HTTP are.
Besides working with HTTP, I’ve had the chance to:
- See the Yahoo! Music library — a huge room full of shelves and shelves of millions of CDs.
- Chat with Douglas Crockford — the father of JSON.
- Met the Flickr folks — in their Santa Clara digs.
- Re-adjust my perspective on standards — I might expand on this later, but for now let’s just say that there’s a world of difference between standards vendors and standards users.
- Ignore Tom Cruise — sorry, Tom, there’s too much other fun stuff happening.