Boston BarCamp – Consuming Amazon’s Web API Directly with Javascript (via JSON and XSLT)

This was actually a session I attended at BarCamp – in fact it was presented on my laptop. ;)

However,  Alan Taylor already had the guts of the session put together as a blog post, so rather than try to reconstruct my notes, I’ll just link to the original.

Good clear overview of how to use xslt to convert what Amazon’s web services return directly to JSON – that way you don’t even need to do any server side processing- the client js can call directly from Amazon and let them do the transformation.
KOKOGIAK – Consuming Amazon’s Web API Directly with Javascript (via JSON and XSLT)

Boston Bar Camp – Startup 2.0

Startup 2.0 PanelThe Startup 2.0 Panel was Saturday at 2pm.

The moderator was Ryan Sarver. Participating were (left to right in the photo):

Dave Beisel from Masthead Venture Partners in Cambridge – focused on Digital Media, Web 2.0 space.

Nick Beim from Matrix Partners, Waltham. Two areas of focus – online services, software. ( . Most fertile time for starting a web business that we’ve ever seen – better than late 90s

Mike Shean from Skyhook Wireless – wifi location technology company. Ambient wifi GPS. He cofounded – Bain, Intel, Nokia as funders.

Eric Gerritsen from Global Seed Capital – Venture Finaning Company in Boston. Invested in 7 companies which could be called Web 2.0. Generally in the 10k – 250k investment size – early stage.

Steve Huffman from Reddit – In and around Cambridge for the last year.

Basic format was an open panel exchange.
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Boston BarCamp – Hey Lets Go!

The second session I attended was titled: Hey Let’s Go: Building a social networking site using Web2.0 technologies

HeyLetsGo is a site, currently focused on Boston, that pulls together social networking and events: you can see what your frieds are going to (or saying they are going to), and talk about where you are going or have gone to. The presenter was Rebecca Xiong, one of the founders of the site, and Geoff Menegay, the lead developer / technical architect.

It offers photo sharing, location information (show events near me), restaurants, reviews, etc.

The basic problem they see themselves being able to solve is people having too much difficulty being able to find out what is happening, planning their upcoming weekend, and see what other people are doing. Each person registered has a profile, can sign up for events, identify other users as friends, join groups, and comment on events. Most of the events come from automatic feeds or end-users, some come from the staff. Once a month they throw their own party, sometimes co-sponsored with other local groups.

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BarCamp Boston – How Technology is Changing the Music Industry

BarCamp Boston Monster Labs Big Brain Room

This morning the first session I sat in on was on “How Technology is Changing the Music Industry,” which was organized by Nate Aune from, Jazkarta, and Plone4Artists, and Mike Champion and Gary Elliott from Tourbus.

It was in the Monster Lab’s BigBrain, which turned out to be rather small.’s goal is to be a decentralized network for musicians and fans in the Boston Area.
The goal of is to connect people to live music. When you’re looking for a show, the process is too complicated / dispersed: you browse venue pages, ticket reseller pages, band pages, fan pages, pitchfork, etc.

With, you tell them what bands you like, they tell you when they come to town. You can get an rss feed of events matching your profile, or an iCal compatible feed.
The long-term goal is to build a community site around live music. Right now they are in Boston and San Francisco, goal is to expand into other markets as well, but slowly.
They are using a Ruby Lucene port called Ferret.The discussion turned quickly to questions about how the service could be expanded – finding other artists similar to those I’ve said I like, for example. Audioscrobbler/LastFM provides an API which takes a band name as an input and outputs other bands which you might also like (described here).

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Adobe Flex Demo at BostonPHP

Last night, Mike Potter (from Adobe’s developer relations group) presented to BostonPHP. The podcast version is now available from the BostonPHP homepage or this direct link. Most, if not all, of the demos Potter gave are on his site as well.
He showed a number of intriguing things, including:

  1. Flex 2 SDK, FlexBuilder, Flex Data Services, etc. Basically the whole 2.0 line of Flex, which provide an environment (IDE), packaged components, and a compiler which outputs .swf format, to be deployed to a web server and interpreted by the Flash player in the user’s browser
  2. AMFPHP (a non-Adobe open source project) for sending objects back and forth between PHP on the server and Flash on the client without the need for serialization/deserialization. (No current support for nested objects, but an array of objects can be returned directly).
  3. Flex/AJAX Bridge (an Adobe Labs open source project, ) for exchanging messages between JavaScript in the Browser and ActionScript inside the Flash player (or your Flex application which is running as an SWF in the Flash Player in the Browser). Google Finance actually uses this when you are looking at a stock chart like this one, to highlight the news stories on the right if you click on a letter in the chart and vice-versa. (I wonder what Grease Monkey scripts could do here – since they can now alter the Flash movie as well as the DOM of the page).
  4. Apollo, which he described but did not show – basically an “.swf runner” which will let users download Flex applications (as .swf files) and run them in a desktop environment without communication back and forth with a server. Will also probably serve as a host environment to PDF files, and potentially (Potter was less committal here) AJAX applications. A developer preview should be coming “later this year.”
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