iPhoneDevCamp, iPhone, Safari and Microformats

I wish I could attend iPhoneDevCamp but unfortunately I won’t be in the area (or in the right country for that matter ;-) ).

I just read Chris’ post about iPhoneDevCamp and I think these are the right reasons to make the iPhoneDevCamp.

There are a few facts that support Chris’ view:

  • In the first week Apple sold 700,000 units
  • The iPhone is closed for outside application, but not for web applications
  • Having a couple of million units out (after it is also sold in Europe and Asia) means there are a couple of million users using Safari on their iPhone and want to get the right experience in all/most sites.

The day I heard that the iPhone will be closed to 3rd party apps but will use web applications as its main extension approach I thought one thing. Apple should make Safari (or at least just Safari on the iPhone) Microformats aware.

Since the main interaction of users with 3rd party application on the iPhone is through web sites, extracting as much meaning as possible from such a web site will give iPhone users the best experience. For example, if I had an hCalendar someone in a site, or an hCard, if Safari on the iPhone (or Safari in general) would have Microformats support I could quickly add the meeting or contact information to my iPhone with one click (arrr, is it click or touch?)

If Apple will do that at some point in the future, it means that the Microformats community will gain a couple of million users which might in turn convince web site designers to support Microformats.

Microformats are exactly the small and right amount of standardization that can make the web a better place for both users and developers.

It seems that Microformats becomes more important in smaller devices where the ability to extend their applications and the devices itself is usually limited and input is measured as the smallest and shortest action one should take to make something happen.

Crawling to the people

Yaniv let the cat out of the bag about some of our ideas for making other parts of the search and its relevant data open, free and accessible to all of us.

I’d thought I’ll add some background and my thoughts on the subject.

First, the idea was iterated a couple of times when we were in that place where you have a solution(s) and you are seeking a problem(s) to solve.

It all started from this post by Jeremie Miller. Jeremie, being the good guy that he is, was thinking about create standards and protocols to make the crawling, processing and sharing of data for search and search engines public, free and accessible. While neither Yaniv nor I are in Jeremie’s loop and have no idea of what he is up to (but you can count on it to be interesting, that’s for sure), we talked about it a bit and it sunk in.

We both liked the idea of having the raw data accessible as well as being able to run custom post processors that can make something useful out of it so that no one is tied to whatever logic and algorithms the crawler writer enforces.

Then came the announcement from Kevin Burton about spinn3r, a service that re uses the web index of the Blogosphere crawled by TailRank’s crawler and allows you (and everyone else) to use that crawled data.

This information also sunk in and today at lunch (which did take quite a while :-) ) we started to brainstorm about it a bit more seriously.

This can really open up and innovate search from the bottom up. Give access to a lot of people to APIs and capabilities that were previously only available for big companies. This is the platform that can create something very interesting.

We would love to hear your comments.