A Field Guide to Working With the MySpace Platform
An In-Depth Look at Google’s OpenSocial Specification.
OpenSocial was first released in November 2007, initially running only on Google’s own Orkut social network. OpenSocial is a set of APIs that let applications access data and functions on social networking sites that implement the specification. If you think this sounds a bit like the FaceBook Platform, it is that- however, one that is not controlled by one single company. At the same time, Google created the specification based on its Gadgets framework. It now exists as an open specification administered by the OpenSocial Foundation. Today several social networking sites besides Orkut support it ranging from social networks like Friendster and Hi5 to business networking LinkedIn. Still, probably the best known is MySpace which was one of the first to adopt it in 2007.
Being first to support a developing specification often means that inconsistencies will crop-up between the implementation and the official specification. Since the authors have been involved with OpenSocial since the beginning, they provide numerous stories about how the specification developed, and how it’s roots led to certain design decisions. At the time of writing, the specification is 0.9 as well, the book is specifically about creating applications that run on MySpace, so there are several quirks between the official specification and MySpace’s implementation. While these don’t seem to be significant, they need to be observed, and the writers do a good job of explaining the quirks and how to handle them. With that in mind, Building OpenSocial Apps takes readers right from the first MySpace “Hello World” into full applications.
The book starts with creating the traditional “Hello World” application before moving into more advanced topics. Fundamentally the book is broken down into three sections: building an application on MySpace’s servers, creating apps that run off other servers (necessary for more extensive applications) and dealing with growth and security. Throughout the book, the readers work with a simple Tic-Tac-Toe game (is there any other kind?) that can be downloaded and is used as a starting point for learning about the MySpace Developer Platform and OpenSocial.