A Valentine to Yahoo!

Some years ago, I never thought I'd be writing a love note to Yahoo for being so technically adept and forward-thinking, and generally cool (from the perspective of a Web Developer). But it's 2006 now, and the big Y! has definitely taken off.

Examples from the past year or so? Here's a rich dozen:

- Yahoo! User Interface Library
- Yahoo! Design Patterns Library
- Smart acquisitions: Flickr, Upcoming, del.icio.us, and Konfabulator brought into the fold.
- The Yahoo Developer Network
- The Javascript Developer Center
- Yahoo Maps API (Though the maps aren't as great as Google, the Y! APIs kick ass).
- Opening up bits of their infrastructure, like the Yahoo Term Extractor
- JSON output as an alternative to XML for some APIs
- RSS Every Damn Place
- Local Search API
- Generally Kickass APIs, completed with decent documentation, good examples, and stability under use.
- Good, visible, respected, (often opinionated) people. I view Jeremy Zawodny as the prime example of this.

Yahoo seems far more like it's made of People than Google does these days. People who care, make efforts, make mistakes, share and build. I'm certain that the people at Google are the same way - we just don't see it that often. Official blogs, personal blogs, community involvement, personal evangelism, Yahoo really has struck an excellent overall tone with all of this outward communication. I know it's all helped turn around my view of Yahoo.

I especially am happy to see the most recent offerings, the User Interface Library and Yahoo! Design Patterns Library. What nice, professionally-done and useful tools. As Yahoo employee Eric Miraglia notes, "A rising tide lifts all boats". Or, maybe as Mark Allen says, "Yahoo is the new Google"

Yet (to look a gift Horse in the Mouth) I have to wonder about this - as I do all General External API offerings - "What's in it for Yahoo?" The cost of all of the dozen-plus items listed above (acquisitions, salaries, hosting, etc.) runs well into the millions of dollars. Is this money spent towards goodwill? Towards a propagation of Yahoo as a general platform (as Google seems to be trying)? There is some altruism evidenced by the individuals involved, but I wonder what the money-crunchers inside Yahoo think about the cost/benefit to all of this. (Or maybe the cost is really peanuts within the larger Yahoo Corporate beast)

At any rate, A big valentine's wish to Yahoo and the good folks there. Thanks for everything to date, and a lot of us are anxiously awaiting what's next.


Really a wonderfull resource!
by ansia at 4:35 AM