Google Developer Day in Sydney

Today’s Google Developer day in Sydney was quite impressive. There were about 500 developers (and other random folks) there, curious to learn more about the services Google offers. With three parallel breakout rooms for the talks / code labs, there was plenty to choose from.

The introduction was well done, providing a quick overview of all the services and APIs that were the topic of the day – enough to understand what they are and tempt you to attend the in-depth talks.

I attended the Google App Engine talk first – not because I am a fan of python, but because I have an AppEngine account and my son Ben codes in python. I’d really like to play with AppEngine and get Ben to develop something useful (and me to learn some more python on the side). The talk gave a great introduction, which really enthused me. They build this little shout-out app on the fly and published it within the first 10 min. Now, I am collecting ideas for Ben to code up – if you have a neat little one, leave me a note.

I then went on to attend the YouTube talk. It was touted as a 201 presentation, but in the end just provided a cursory overview of the YouTube API. It was a good overview, but since we’ve been working with the API for a long time at Vquence, there was nothing new for me.

At the end of the talk, a developer requested YouTube to provide an API to access the new annotation feature. Since that is still in beta, they will be waiting to harden the technology for a bit before introducing the API. I suggested to them to look at CMML as the XML API. I explained that it would hold any annotation at any time point in any language. The on-screen placement is not currently covered by a tag in CMML, but could be added to the meta tags of the clips. I also suggested that if they found anything to improve on CMML, it would be possible since it’s not a finalized standard. I really hope they will check it out.

After lunch, I attended the two sessions about OpenSocial. I was considering using it for the new Vquence metrics site to do the widget layout. I quickly understood that this is not about layouts, but really about social applications. It would be cool if Ben would think up a social application that he could implement in python and OpenSocial and host in AppEngine. Something that him and his friends could share, maybe? Any ideas for an 11-year-old who learnt python on the OLPC?

At the end of the day, I was curious to learn a bit about Android before having to head home. But I only had a few minutes and the speaker had a slow start (repeating his slides from the introduction session) such that I quickly decided to leave and rather make sure I was at after school care on time!

Overall a worthwhile day – I met some friends, made some contacts, got to ask some questions, and had an awesome lunch with fresh sushi, hmmm. Google really knows how to spoil their developers!

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