Archive for May, 2007

Content Owner Branding

May 28, 2007

A lot of you may have noticed that we like to talk about giving control to content owners to decide how their content can be used with Dapper. We often cite this as one of the many things that differentiates Dapper from “screen scraping” or other non-network based tools. Well, we just took yet another step toward making sure content that is part of a Dapp retains the branding of its owner in the form of our Google Gadget.

If you make (or use) one of these cool little things, you’ll notice that we’ve added the owner url and faveicon to the right side of the Gadget (note: our Universal Widget also has had this url branding since its release).

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Dapps from RSS

May 27, 2007

Dapper solves a very hard problem: getting structured content out of a website that only provides an unstructured interface (i.e., HTML). However, many sites today provide their content in more structured form using the RSS and Atom standards. With today’s release, you can now create a Dapp from any existing RSS or Atom feed on the web.

Now why would you want to do such a thing? Structure already structured information? Make RSS out of RSS?

Once an RSS feed is available in Dapp form, you can harness all the power of the Dapper platform, including email alerts, gadgets for personalized homepages (Netvibes, Google, Pageflakes), Flash widgets, and filtering. You can even link an RSS Dapp to any other Dapp to create a new webservice out of the two (e.g. take listings from Craig’s List and put them on a Google Map). Furthermore, our SDKs allow you to programmatically access these RSS Dapps just like any other.

Many of you have asked for this feature over the last six months and we really hope that having access to it makes it even easier to reuse, manipulate, and take advantage of content from all over the web.

In several days, we’ll release the second part of this feature which will allow you to specify dynamic variables for the RSS URL. This will allow you to very easily work with sites like Craig’s List, where URLs contain arguments specifying search terms and location, as if the site had a fully fledged API.

Finally, those of you who produce content and have a feed can now very easily provide your content in new formats. See the “distribute your content” section for more information.

This was a big change to the code base and we’d really appreciate your bug reports. Thanks!

RSS filtering is the new black

May 14, 2007

As many of our users know (and use), one of Dapper’s main strengths is the ability to get relevant content feeds by providing search terms to virtually any service on the web. But sometimes, that’s not enough, and for these situations, we’re introducing a new transformer called “Filtered RSS feed“. This is your usual RSS feed transformer, with a twist: you can define (case sensitive) keyword based filters to the title and the description of the RSS stories. Here are a couple of cool examples:

Traffic jam RSS feeds: Traffic jam RSS for 94102 , Same RSS feed, giving only reports for Hwy-101

Public companies recommendations from Reuters: All analysts recommendations, Same RSS feed, giving only “Buy” recommendations

We hope you’ll find it useful. If you’re a developer and want to extend it, feel free to give it a try. On that note, one of our users (thanks, pascal vanheckea) found Dapper useful enough to create a cool Dapper instruction video.

You know you’ve made it when your users are video-taping 🙂

Google Gadget Goodness!

May 10, 2007

In our ongoing efforts to improve your Google Gadgeting experience (you iGooglers, you), we’ve released yet another update to the Google Gadget.  This time around we’ve added support for images.  So now you can take images from all over the web and put them in your favorite Google services.

Enjoy!

Why Bannerize When You Can Gadget…ize

May 10, 2007

Or Widgetize.

This is sort of the point of a really interesting blog post from last week in Neil Kennedy’s blog.

The era of flashing, ridiculous looking banner ads will now be replaced by forms, games (beyond that of shooting the duck for lower insurance rates in some cheesy Flash game), and most importantly, actual stores. Google is rolling out Gadgets for adsense, leveraging its Google Gadgets for creating more powerful ad content.

From our perspective, this is awesome. We just recently improved the functionality of our Google Gadget transformer, and not a moment too soon (you can now have forms and fully interactive features). Think of a Google Gadget that searches your small business…take a company I randomly found called MegaToners, for instance. They’re an online retailer of copier and fax supplies, running their operation through a Yahoo! store. Well, it was a no-brainer to make a quick Gadget out of their catalog: click here to check it out by adding it to your iGoogle.

My guess is that a company like this probably never thought of making an ad that looks like this. Nor could they do it without some serious programming before services like Dapper came about. The possibilities for the long tail of small businesses like this are astounding, and this idea is a another great example of how Dapper is enabling marketers to take marketing back from the IT people.

Suggestions appreciated…and go ahead and make a Gadget or widget for your store.

Image Support in RSS Feeds

May 8, 2007

Many of you have asked for Dapper-created RSS feeds to support images.  We’re pleased that we rolled out support for this today.  If you find any bugs or have any additional requests, let us know.

And if you create any particularly cool RSS feeds using images, post them to the comments.

Improvements to Frames

May 3, 2007

For those of you who have been frustrated in your attempts to create Dapps for sites that contain frames, we’ve released a solution today.  Though it doesn’t address everything, it does go a long way to making Dapper usable on sites with frames.  Please give it a shot and let us know what you think.  As always, your feedback is very valuable to us.

PageFlakes and Better Google Gadgets

May 3, 2007

PageFlakes users rejoice!  We’ve released a transformer for PageFlakes which should make integration with your start page easier.  To try it out, find any Dapp and select PageFlake from the drop down.

Today we also improved the Google Gadget transformer to include support for omitting labels, adding an input form into the gadget, and various visual improvements.  You can use Google Gadgets on iGoogle, Google Desktop, or on any website.

Please let us know if you find any problems or have any features you’d like to see implemented.  We promise more updates are on the way.

Excellent Review on Read/Write Web

May 2, 2007

Alex Iskold has posted a great review of Dapper over on Read/Write Web.  It provides a thorough examination of Dapper and its implications and place on the web.

One thing to note is that Dapper can indeed be used beyond a read-only context – you can easily create a Dapp for a site where you submit content (e.g. sending a message on a social network).

Give the review a read and feel free, as always, to be in touch with your feedback.