Google, IBM, Sun cite developer outreach

Google and IBM will extend their platforms to developers via APIs and Web 2.0 technologies. But Sun Micrososystems warned that openness offered through blogs can have negative consequences for enterprises if not managed well.

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Officials from Google and IBM detailed efforts Tuesday to extend their platforms to developers via APIs and Web 2.0 technologies. But a Sun Microsystems executive cautioned that openness offered via forums such as blogs can have negative consequences if not managed well.

Executives from the three companies talked about opening up to developers at the Evans Data Developer Relations Conference in California.

Google's Patrick Chanezon, API evangelist, discussed how the company has expanded from having three APIs available three years ago to having 55 APIs now. The company had 32 APIs available in 2007.

"Google is [known] quite well for search and ads, and it only started getting into the API game about three years [ago]," Chanezon said.

Google has a range of APIs on code.google.com, including Google's AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) Search API, Chart API, and Search API. The company also has expanded its outreach to developers through development of three platforms: Android, for mobile applications; OpenSocial, featuring APIs for social applications; and the newly introduced App Engine, for running web applications on Google infrastructure.

Google's Data APIs, for reading and writing data on the web, meanwhile, feature the REST-based AtomPub publishing protocol, Chanezon noted. Google also leverages AJAX in areas such as search, he said.

Meanwhile, Google has been participating in open source. "There's already over 1 million lines of code open sourced by Google," in more than 100 projects, said Chanezon.

At IBM, the company uses various Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis and forums to extend its developerWorks developer outreach program, said Kathy Mandelstein, director of IBM worldwide Rational marketing programs.

"Really, we're evolving developerWorks to be a community-based site that is really more about interaction," she said. IBM ponders how to enable developers to collaborate with IBM and each other, Mandelstein said.

Web 2.0, she said, presents technologies such as social networking, open source, and search and is no longer just for consumers. "It's really transformed the web in the way we all do business," Mandelstein said.

With its web 2.0 outreach, IBM is using technologies such as podcasts and gizmos, to syndicate content. "Gizmos basically allow any of the portlets on developerWorks to be syndicated out to a lot of other popular social networking sites," such as Facebook and iGoogle, Mandelstein said.

Use of RSS feeds in developerWorks has grown 64 percent since the same time in 2006. IBM also received 1.4 million referrals from social bookmarks in 2007.

Blogs have experienced 100 percent growth year to year, Mandelstein said. Use of forums also has grown. Additionally, IBM has an interface enabling access to developerWorks from an Apple iPhone. Other efforts include activities in the virtual world via Second Life and development of IBM Codestation, for sharing scripts and objects in Second Life.

IBM also has set up its Jazz.net platform for collaborative application lifecycle management, Mandelstein said. Jazz has Web 2.0 features such as real-time chat as well as a virtual world component called Project Bluegrass, she said.

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