Archive for June, 2006

Dapper – Unleash your creativity

June 23, 2006

Dapper is a new service. You may have noticed that there are many of those emerging these days. Dapper, however, is different. It’s a new kind of service.

Dapper’s mission is to allow you to use any web based content in any way you can imagine. And by use, we mean going beyond just reading or viewing a webpage. You may want to create an RSS feed or a Google Gadget for a site, take a site’s content and put it on a map, receive an email alert when your site’s Alexa’s ranking goes below 5000, or create a mashup of your favorite band’s tour dates and a camping locations reservation website to organize your musical camping vacation. Whatever you want to do, however you want to mold the web, Dapper can help you do it.

How do we go about filling such a tall order? Well, basically, Dapper allows you to easily build an API for any website. Initially, if the content source you’re interested in is not Dapped already, Dapper will take you through a visual and intuitive process that takes just minutes. When finished, you will have at your disposal an API with which you can interface to get the content you are interested in. Imagine you want to build a service that gets movie theaters details in your zip code. All you have to do is dapp Yahoo Theaters, and voila, you have a web service API for Yahoo theaters, which can be accessed with any zip code and returns the relevant data in a format of your choice (XML, HTML, RSS, Google Map, etc.).

Using Dapper, any web page becomes a LEGO block, which you can arrange and manipulate in any way you like.

So, that’s our mission statement. We think you’ll find we have come a long way towards fulfilling it, and now it’s time to get you in the picture. We cannot build such a service on our own. We need you to use our service, test it, challenge it, and get inspired by it. In short, we’d love your feedback, so give it a go.

If you’re a programmer, you may use Dapped content in its raw XML form, or use an SDK. Otherwise, you can also try our creation tools or just click on “Define a Service” after choosing a Dapp transformer.

If you’ve built a new service using Dapper, please let us know and we will add it to our list of Dapper enabled services (Dapplications).

You probably have quite a number of questions that are left unanswered. Some answers you might find in our FAQs page. For others, feel free to send us a note or leave a comment on this post and we promise to answer promptly. Expect future posts on this blog to deal with other topics of interest related to Dapper.

One last note about the name: Dapper. When people ask us why “Dapper” we have two answers: The geeky answer and the inspirational one. The geeky answer is – Dapper is short for “Data Mapper”, which is the essence of what we’re doing. The inspirational one is – what we aim to do, in effect, is make the entire Web more dapper. More trimmed, well dressed, and accessible. Your creativity is the only limit.

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New Features

June 17, 2006

This week will see the release of several new and exciting features.  As always, your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  • Alerts – you can now choose to be alerted whenever a specific web page meets conditions you specify.  Just find or create a Dapp for the website you want to monitor, go to the Dapp's details, and click "Alert."  You will then be able to set your alert conditions to things like "alert me whenever at least three stories on the Digg homepage have over 1,000 diggs." 
  • Full groups – when saving your Dapp, you can now set whether to exclude groups that do not have all the group fields present.  To do so, click "Advanced options" when saving your dapp and check the box that says "Full groups only."
  • Contact us – we've made it even easier to contact us by providing a form on the website.  You can access it by click the "Contact" link in the footer of any page on the site.
  • More Dapp metadata – coming soon, when saving a Dapp you will be able to supply descriptions and tags that can be used while searching.

We hope you enjoy these various features.  Keep the suggestions coming – you input is very valuable.