Understanding what OpenSocial Isn’t

After getting two similar questions from colleagues today about my first OpenSocial application, it struck me that the perceptions and reality of OpenSocial are a bit confused.  My colleague Dare Obasanjo describes it succinctly in five sentences (with a bit of great imagery). 

OpenSocial is billed as a standardized widget platform for the Web, it isn't. OpenSocial is a standard set of REST APIs which social networks can utilize to expose user profiles and relationship data. Everything else required by a widget platform from authentication and authorization to user interface integration and an application directory is unspecified. OpenSocial is to a standardized widget platform as an internal combustion engine is to an airplane. A step in the right direction but still very far from the end goal.

He also gave a very good critique about it comparing it with today's market leader, Facebook.

Trying out my Silverlight Widget(s)

if you want to try out my widget in an OpenSocial application, here's what you do:

  1. Get a Google Account (if you have Gmail, then your email address is it)
  2. Sign up for Orkut.com with the Google Account
  3. When you get a reply from the orkut sandbox (less than a day) then click on the applications button in sandbox.orkut.com button on your home page and then any of these URLs here image :
    1. My OpenSocial application: http://hosting.gmodules.com/ig/gadgets/file/113009390747258006757/SilverlightOpenSocial.xml
    2. A simple Silverlight Streaming application hosted on http://silverlight.live.com: http://hosting.gmodules.com/ig/gadgets/file/113009390747258006757/Matrix.xml
    3. A Popfly application: http://hosting.gmodules.com/ig/gadgets/file/113009390747258006757/Earthquakes.xml

The Silverlight Streaming and Popfly applications have no social features, they just show how these technologies can work with OpenSocial container applications.

Comments (2)

  1. After getting two similar questions from colleagues today about my first OpenSocial application , it

  2. I am now even more confused about what Open Social is.  Is there maybe another way to explain it?

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