Archive for the ‘Dapper’ Category

The Dapp Factory Moves to

February 19, 2009

Dear Dapper-ites,

Over the years we’ve been moving full steam ahead toward our business model, while continuing to offer’s bevy of feed creation and transformation services for free.  We shall continue that tradition with the launch of — the place to find the tools you know and love to create RSS, XML, Google Gadgets, and your world of content.

Don’t let the new look-and-feel over at the main page bum you out 🙂  You’ll notice some changes there: the focus on our revolutionary dynamic ad creation and trafficking tools, the addition of a few sections that were previously not there (Advertisers, Agencies, Publishers, etc.) and the obvious omission of the Dapp search box.

There’s a link to that will take you to a familiar sight (or site, for that matter).  But go ahead and bookmark that new address now!

We at Dapper feel that this direction — making the world of display advertising a whole lot more Dapper is a goal we can all hope to attain.  By using content rich, informational ads, we can finally escape the punch-the-monkey model and get people to engage with ads as they would with a site feature.  And by monetizing these tools, we’ve stumbled on a heavy incentive for funding the Semantic Web!

Other than that, it’s business as usual, and always feel free to contact us with comments, questions, bugs, and concerns.


Paul Knegten on behalf of The Dapper Staff


Big Update to Dapp Factory

November 26, 2008

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve released a major update to the Dapp Factory.  In the new version, you can now see how the content selection works across multiple pages and fix it if it isn’t perfect.

For some background: Dapper works by providing it sample pages that have the same structure, but different content.  For example, if you want to create a Dapp that allows you to extract search results from your favorite search engine, you would provide several different examples of searches (e.g., “cat,” “dog,” and “meow meow”).  Dapper will use the different sample pages to understand the structure of the page, so that later you can use it to conduct any search you want, even one you didn’t train it on (e.g., “woof woof”).  In the past, our interface allowed you provide multiple sample pages, but when it came to selecting content, you could only see how it worked on the first sample page.  If it didn’t work well on other pages, you would only know that after you saved your Dapp, and editing the Dapp so that it worked better on other pages was a chore.  With the new version, you can now see when you are creating your Dapp how it works on all the sample pages provided.

To help illustrate how the feature works, here’s a screencast demonstrating it:

We hope you find this new feature useful and that it helps you create better, more robust Dapps that work across many pages. Should you have any questions or want to discuss it with us, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Something to note: the new version does not extract content from all the pages at once – Dapper remains true to the concept that it extracts content from one page at a time.  Combining content from multiple pages is something that is left to techniques outside the Dapp itself (e.g., MS Popfly with their awesome Dapper integration, Yahoo! Pipes, or good old fashioned programming).

Dapper Speaking Events

October 7, 2008

Hello everyone!

I just returned from the Internet Marketing Conference in Barcelona where I presented Dapper’s MashupAds platform to a great group of marketing experts.  The crowd was engaging and provided a unique European perspective on our advertising offering.  A big thanks to Lennart and Jordi for inviting us to present.  The other presenters were particularly interesting.  I especially enjoyed a presentation about Avail Intelligence‘s offering, which is effectively giving e-commerce sites the ability to provide collaborative filtering services to their users and boost sales dramatically.  The IMC is held in various places around Europe and North America and always has quality presenters – I’d highly recommend attending when it’s in your neighborhood (upcoming events are in Stockholm, Helsinki, and Vancouver).

Up next, I’ll be participating in two panels at the Web 3.0 Conference and Expo in Santa Clara on October 16.  The first panel is called “A Little “mash-up” goes a long and smart(er) way” and the second is called “Monetization Implications of Web 3.0 (Semantic Advertising, etc.)“.  Both of these topics are highly relevant to what we’ve been working on at Dapper.  In the first session, we’ll be discussing how the technologies of the Semantic Web are continuing to evolve and are being applied to mashups.  In the second session, we’ll address business models of the Semantic Web (the other folks on the panel are all from interesting companies and will have great things to share).  I hope to provide a demo of dynamic ad creation using Dapper’s MashupAds.  For those of you interested in the emergence of the Semantic Web and the discussion around all of its various elements from a practical perspective, I’d highly recommend attending the conference.

Oh what a week…

August 8, 2008

So, as many of you have noticed, Dapper had a rough week, with dapp serving being down for a few hours and the dapp factory being down for more than a day. The cause of these unfortunate outages, at the end of the day, was a poor choice of ISP way back when. The events of the last week caused us to accelerate our work on a new infrastructure (with much better ISPs) that will have the kind of reliability our users demand of us, and we demand of ourselves.

We would like to truly thank all of our users who had the patience to endure with us as we were handling these unfortunate issues. I’d also like to thank the Dapper team which has worked nights and days on these problems and managed to fix them in record time.

Please stay tuned for some cool updates on our new infrastructure, as they emerge.

If anyone still experiences problems, please let us know as we’re cleaning up the mess,



PS: All Dapps and services should now be fully operational.

Video of Talk at Cognizant in Bangalore

July 30, 2008

The kind folks at Cognizant have made available a video of the talk I gave there in May.  I’m a bit long-winded (the talk is almost two hours), but there are some good moments and the crowd asked excellent questions.  Enjoy!

Mashups Made Easy with Dapper

July 18, 2008

Tony Loton has just released a new book called Mashups Made Easy with Dapper.  It is available in PDF format as well as paperback.  As an exclusive offer to our users, Tony has made available the first two chapters free of charge.  The book is loaded with examples, tutorials, and step-by-step guides that are relevant to beginners and advanced users alike.

Thanks to Tony for his work in compiling this work.

Dapper in Bangalore

May 26, 2008

Last week, Dapper made its first visit to India. Having received a kind invitation from the folks at the Great Indian Developer’s Summit, I made my way to Bangalore to talk about the Semantic Web and Dapper’s new server-side mashup framework. Having been to India before, I knew what to expect – a vibrant country teeming with life and excitement, amazing street life, and a world entirely different than any other country.

A busy street in Bangalore\'s Magestic neighborhood

Yet, I had never visited Bangalore and was impressed to see the quality of the high-tech community. Everyone I met was working on great things and was eager to learn about the next great developments.

My first speaking engagement was at Cognizant. A large company with more than 55,000 employees, “Cognizant is a leading provider of information technology, consulting and business process outsourcing services.” I was given the opportunity to speak with a group of Cognizant’s brightest people about the “practical Semantic Web” (what we call “Web Plumbing 101”). Some of you have probably seen us present this talk in the past, but for those of you who haven’t, it focuses on how, using techniques like harnessing the user community and simplicity (REST instead of SOAP, Microformats instead of RDF, etc.), a bunch of companies are helping deliver on the promise of the Semantic Web. The Cognizant audience had great questions about the topics, which for me is always the best indication of interest and understanding. If video of the talk at Cognizant becomes available, I’ll be sure to post it online. For now, here is a photo from the session. Thanks to Dr. Kumar B.V. for inviting me and everyone at Cognizant who attended.

Jon at Cognizant

Following the session at Cognizant, I made my way to the Great Indian Developer Summit. This was the first GIDS and its success is sure to lead to many more. Run by the great folks at Saltmarch Media, Indu Britto and Dilip Thomas, the GIDS was really three conferences in one: two days dedicated to .NET, one day dedicated to the rich web, and another two days dedicated to Java. Hosted at the beautiful Indian Institute of Science campus, over 3,000 people attended throughout the week. I spoke twice on the rich web day, once about the Semantic Web and once about Dapper’s new server-side mashup engine (for those of you interested in the latter, just drop us a note and we’ll be happy to get you access before the official release). Speaking to a crowd of so many bright developers was fantastic. The people who attended the Dapper sessions asked some of the best questions we’ve heard. For those of you who were there, a great many thanks for making the sessions so truly interactive, and thanks as well to Indu and Dilip for the invitation to speak. When photos or video become available of the sessions, I will be sure to post them. In the mean time, here is a shot of some attendees from the main hall:

Attendees at GIDS

I look forward to my next visit to Bangalore.  For those of you who haven’t been, I encourage you to visit.  And for anyone in India or the region, I highly recommend attending next year’s Great Indian Developer Summit.


January 29, 2008

Due to some unfortunately timed hardware failures, Dapper is currently experiencing intermittent hardware failures. We’re doing everything we can to minimize the downtime and expect things to stabilize soon. Thank you for your patience and apologize for the inconvenience.

Update (1/30/08): after a little bit of calm, we suffered a power outage at our data center.  The machines should be up momentarily and we’re working hard to clear the dust.  We greatly appreciate your patience and are sorry for the inconvenience.

NDF (New Dapper Features)

January 15, 2008

We’ve recently introduced a couple of cool features we’d like to let you know about. Both have been highly coveted by users and as part of the “Dapper Listens” program, we’ve finally got to them 🙂

First, we’ve introduced an updated Dapp search, that allows you to preview live content retrieved from the Dapp, and get an immediate intuition whether this Dapp is good for you or not. It also notifies you if the site this Dapp is based on has changed, allowing you to immediately go and edit the Dapp, so it will be adapted to the current site features. We believe this feature will make searching for Dapps a much more useful and enjoyable experience. Enjoy!

Secondly, we’ve finally introduced a forum system for all things Dapper: In these forums you can share your latest Dapper based hacks, seek support and suggest the next Dapper feature you crave for. Go ahead and let your voice be heard.

These small updates lead the way to an upcoming release to take place within the month dubbed the “Virtual Navigator”. This release will be a major breakthrough and a huge technological milestone for Dapper, where we’ll introduce the ability to work on pretty much any site on the web (flash based sites excluded). We are extremely excited about this release and are looking forward to share it with you. At the moment, this release is being tested in private beta by a group of devoted Dapper users. If you’re interested in testing it, drop us a note, and we’ll add you to group of testers as it grows.



Deki Wiki Incorporates Support for Dapper

January 7, 2008

Deki Wiki, pretty much the coolest wiki out there just released version 1.8.3 which incorporates support for Dapper. Effectively, this now means you can bring any content from the web into your wiki! The best way to understand its power is probably to check out Aaron’s screencast demonstrating the new Dapper extension.

The new release is getting lots of great attention all over the web: RWW, Social Glass, Computer World, Mashable, and more.

Thanks to Aaron, Steve, and the Deki Wiki team for bringing such excellent functionality to the open source wiki world.

If you build something cool using Deki Wiki and Dapper, please let us know (and if you’re in the Bay Area, come present it at DapperCamp).

Happy Holidays

December 23, 2007

Way back when in November, the Dapper guys celebrated the first Dapper endorsed mustache day (where a bunch of the guys didn’t shave for a while, only to shave at the same day and have a mustache for 24 hours or so). Such a deed needed to be immortalized for all eternity, and what a better excuse than this holiday season. So here, for your viewing pleasure, the Dapper Quartet: Doron, Doron (yes, we have two), Nir and Uzi, elfing themselves out.

Happy holidays 🙂

Get Your Own Branded Dapp Factory

October 29, 2007

For those of you interested in offering Dapper as a service to your users, we just made it possible! Imagine, for example, that you have a site that allows your users to import RSS feeds for one purpose or another. What happens if there is no RSS feed for the content a user wants to import? Using the white labeled Dapp Factory, you can offer your users the ability to create a feed for any site and then import it into your site, without feeling like they’ve left your website. The white labeled Dapp Factory can be customized to include your logo, styling (via CSS), and wording. For more information, check out the white labeled Dapp Factory page or contact us to apply.

Defrag Conference Next Week

October 28, 2007

Eran and I will be presenting a talk next week at the Defrag conference in Denver.  The talk will be about the practical Semantic Web (what we call “Web Plumbing 101”) and how its being built up by companies (including Dapper) and the web community.  For those of you interested in attending, let us know in the comments and we can arrange a discount for you.  See you there!

Small DapperFox Update

October 19, 2007

DapperFox users, we’ve just released a minor update (version 0.1.4).  This version fixes a long standing issue where the Dapper logo would continue spinning indefinitely in the address bar.  You can download the update here, or update via Firefox’s addon manager (the new version will be updated to Mozilla’s site soon).

Popfly’s Dapper Block

October 18, 2007

For those of you looking for a cool visual mashup editor, Microsoft has a great new tool called Popfly.  Complete with stunning visual effects, Popfly allows you to mix and mash content from the web into a cool little webapp.  A couple weeks ago, the Popfly team added a “Dapper block” which allows you to very easily embed content from any Dapp into your mashup.  Check out their video about the Dapper block and read what Webware has to say about the service.

If you build something cool using Dapper and Popfly, let us know in the comments.

Scheduled Maintainance

August 14, 2007

Just a note to let everyone know that at 3am on August 15 (tonight) we will be moving our servers and updating our IP addresses.  This will result in a couple hours of down time during which time the Dapper service will be unreachable.  We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but the result will be significantly improved performance.  Please let us know if you experience any problems and thanks for your understanding.

More Power for Content Owners

June 28, 2007

Today we released a cool licensing option for content owners. Many website owners and publishers have asked us to implement a license that enables them to dictate specific terms on how their content can be used. This is now possible. I think the following screenshot says it all:

According to Specific Terms

Content owners now have the power to specify more explicitly how Dapper users can access and reuse their content legitimately. Enjoy!

Releases Galore!

June 28, 2007

We’ve been busy this week. The following are a few of the various improvements you might notice at Dapper:

Virtual Browser Overhaul
The Virtual Browser (the “Collect Pages” step in the Dapp Factory) has been overhauled and rewritten. This rewrite addresses some long standing issues with many sites not appearing correctly (for instance, Yahoo’s homepage), improves login functionality, and fixes many foreign language encoding problems.

Free Text Improvements
We’ve improved Dapper’s ability to deal with “free standing text” – the kind of text that is not contained within an element on a page. This should help make Dapps on a variety of pages (e.g., Pitchfork’s record reviews page).

Link Detection
A small fix went out yesterday to improve Dapper’s ability to “inherit” links in places where it wasn’t working before.

All of these improvements were made in response to your input and suggestions, so please keep them coming. And if you find any problems with these fixes, let us know.

Better Support for Tables

June 8, 2007

Some of you have noticed that we introduced a powerful new feature recently: better support for tables. Now when you click on data inside a table on a website, a little table icon appears next to the table and up in the toolbar, allowing you to enter “table mode.” Table Mode provides a spreadsheet-like interface for selecting cells, columns, and rows. It supports column and row headers as well, which makes it easy to name fields according to the headers inside the table.

The best way to understand this new feature is to check out the following screencast.

As always, if you have feedback, comments, suggestions, or bug reports, please let us know.

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!