Do you know the YDN Map? Do you know about the Yahoo! Developer Network at all? I hope you do, because the maps are fantastic visual introductions to all the services Yahoo offers developers and how they relate. You can also draw interesting conclusions by comparing it to past versions.
So, what do I take from this year’s map? First, YQL is being pushed in a big way, cutting across all main lines with only side lines OpenID and Open Social lines excluded. The second most cross-cutting is BOSS. Both initiatives are ways to open up Yahoo’s services to outside developers and let them build onto of them. More to the point, both allow developers the ability to access Yahoo’s search, suggesting that Yahoo sees more value in developers building off its opened search technology than trying to maintain control and do everything in-house. This is not surprising, of course, given recent news. Looking beyond this there aren’t any particular surprises on the map, though the prominent position given Flickr and the paucity of services on the Commerce line are notable.
As for changes, many services on the 2008 map have disappeared or have had their name and connections changed:
First, YQL didn’t exist at all on the 2008 map. Likewise BOSS has dramatically expanded from a single station on the Search line to blob of connections across almost every line. They two services are undeniably the main stories of the last 12 months for Yahoo’s developer services.
On the Tools line Konfabulator has become Desktop Widgets, and the R3 localization and translation service has disappeared. I believe Mobile Widgets has become Blueprint. Spelling Suggestions, PIG, and TV Widgets are all additions to the Tools line.
Social Directory is a newcomer, connecting to the Open Social, Social and Communication lines. Messenger has been removed from the Communication line.
On the Search line Del.icio.us is now one endpoint, swapping adjacent line positions with HotJobs. FareChase has been removed from this line (the service has been shut down) and from Commerce. SearchMonkey has shifted to the other end of the line as part of a larger reorganization that has seen BOSS taking the prominent position Search previously held, the movement of News Search onto the Content Line, and the removal of Video Search and Search SDK.
As hinted above, the Commerce line has perhaps seen the biggest changes. The line previously consisted of the following stops, from left to right: Local, FareChase, Shopping, Kelkoo, Right Media, and Search Marketing. It now is: YQL, APT, Shopping, and BOSS. APT is new to 2009 and FareChase, Kelkoo, Right Media (apparently now part of APT, though its stand-alone site lives on) and Search Marketing have all disappeared from the map.
Aesthetically I find the 2009 map much easier to read, thanks to the removal of the service descriptions (it helps that I have a physical version of it!). Reading the definitions on the 2008 map of many of the services that didn’t make it to the 2009 map, I see that many came from Yahoo Research, suggesting that they were immature research projects that never achieved their hoped-for potential. In contract, despite closing, Yahoo Brickhouse’s legacy lives on in, at least, FireEagle. Of course, that’s not to say Yahoo Research doesn’t contribute much but simply that there aren’t many developer services clearly associated with them anymore.