How to think about services for the open web

Editor's note: Andrew Mager is reporting from the Future of Web Apps (FOWA 2010) conference, held in Miami from February 22 to 24. Click here to read all of his coverage.

Editor's note: Andrew Mager is reporting from the Future of Web Apps (FOWA 2010) conference, held in Miami from February 22 to 24. Click here to read all of his coverage.

Karsten Januszewski from Microsoft spoke this afternoon at FOWA about different types of web services, and how they can impact the success of your web app. The following commentary contains direct insight from the talk:

If you run a website today, you are probably consuming "services". If you run a website, you should consider making services available. Do you have a link at the bottom of your webpage labeled "API"? You should.

Services encourage innovation by developers. Ultimately, this innovation can drive traffic and increase loyalty. Your data will proliferate to other sites and your brand will expand. It's critical to open up your idea to everyone.

Twitter had this baked in from day one. When they launched, the data was ready to be played with immediately. Part of their success is because they thought through their service architecture. Here is an overview of different types of ways to format your data:

JSON is great because it's cross-domain, easily consumed in JS, and compact.

Another option is POX (plain old XML) via REST. It's very customizable, good for documents. It's not so much cross-domain friendly on the client side.

ATOM is most flexible. Clear schema, known patterns, and good for list-oriented data. The downside is that it's limited to certain data sets and you have to make your data fit to it.

Microformats are one of my favorite types of services. You simply update the HTML markup of your data and it becomes available for other open services to access it. View source on this resume: http://andrewmager.com/resume

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