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Mashing Up The Open Web - Mar 2010

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Hey everyone,

Thanks for an awesome six weeks.

If each of you could add a comment on this post with a link to your sourcecode, a blog post, and a working copy of your project (if it exists) I would be really happy.

I'm going to write a post and mash all of your projects together, we'll probably get lots of people to check it out.


Dennis Riedel's picture
Dennis Riedel
Sun, 2010-05-02 16:36

I have uploaded my project to GitHub:

hemanth hm's picture
hemanth hm
Sun, 2010-05-02 18:16

I was just checking out your code, i feel it would be more fun if it's like the combined ideas of and and the translations could be displayed as tags [click-able and editable]. So the user can change the tag name dynamically and the pics would also changes as per the name dynamically without reseting and resubmitting new terms.

Dennis Riedel's picture
Dennis Riedel
Sun, 2010-05-02 19:07

Hi hemanth
Thanks for your feedback!
My first idea was to create a tag cloud with the translations and define the weight be the number of results. But flickr API does not give any answer on number of results. So I was stuck.

Your idea is interesting and dynamically updating the result stream of images when changing the word like in sounds appealing. John had some ideas, too, on how to be open, providing the user with possibilities to provide access to other services, export results (RSS) or place a widget on his homepage.

Tanushree Jindal's picture
Tanushree Jindal
Sun, 2010-05-02 20:03

Hey Dennis,

I noticed here: in the "Example Response" that the query returns an XML of the type:

photos page="2" pages="89" perpage="10" total="881"

photo id="2636" owner="47058503995@N01"
secret="a123456" server="2" title="test_04"
ispublic="1" isfriend="0" isfamily="0"


Here "total" in the first line is the total no. of photos. Maybe I am getting your requirement incorrectly? (Not able to paste the XML correctly here.. you should check directly on the flickr page)

Like your idea! Great that you could upload the source code.

Dennis Riedel's picture
Dennis Riedel
Sun, 2010-05-02 21:18

Hi Tanushree

You are absolutely right! Checking only on the parameters of the actual photo I have not seen the general attributes for the result. Just for testing I have added the total number of images for the result set in one language now. Therefore nothing is in the way of actually creating a tag cloud out of it.

Thanks for your eyeballs and feedback. Much appreciated.

Tanushree Jindal's picture
Tanushree Jindal
Sun, 2010-05-02 23:25

I am glad I could help! I could not digest that flickr did not return the number of results :)

hemanth hm's picture
hemanth hm
Sun, 2010-05-02 21:48

The result from the search api is :
Check out :
Tag cloud implemented for a user name :
And here the jumpto is performing the same think, weighted sorting of the tags and listing images based on the same.

Further browsing i found a similar project its called FlickrBabel, it's a CrossLingual Multimedia Retrieval site

[yes i agree MMR->MultiLingual Multimedia Retriveal is more fun ]

hemanth hm's picture
hemanth hm
Sun, 2010-05-02 21:53

I had to submit this as a new entry as i go prohibited by Mollom Privacy saying,"Your submission has triggered the spam filter and will not be accepted."

Dennis Riedel's picture
Dennis Riedel
Fri, 2010-05-07 10:26

Thank you hemanth. This gives me more input on how to continue.

Tanushree Jindal's picture
Tanushree Jindal
Mon, 2010-05-03 09:18

I've tried to write up some of my thoughts from the course. Thanks to all of you, it was great! Request you to provide feedback - any suggestions for additions or edits would be really appreciated. Even if you just agree with most of it, that would be very helpful to know as well.

The notes are incomplete. I decided to post them anyway, for early feedback.

Thoughts on experiences with P2PU:

Course: Mashing up the open web
- The course covered a broad range of topics for 6 weeks. But I would say it acted as a good launchpad for someone who had working knowledge of web technologies. Probably not so much for someone who was not too technically equipped.
- I liked the emphasis on “open” web. Apart from the technical knowledge for building web mashups, the course touched on what is an open web, how is it important and how can we go about building useful application and contributing towards/ supporting the openness. I thought that this approach was quite unconventional - and was made possible because of John’s (the course organizer) personal commitment to the field.
- The topic was very relevant for today as web mashups are relatively new and popular. They are also generally a useful skill to have? I would assume the course content/ topic had to do with the popularity of the course. I do not know how this course compares with others on P2PU. It might be interesting to create a mashup/visualization for P2PU that compares different courses wrt enrolled students and other aspects.
- That the course was project based was a differentiating feature (from some other course offered).


25+ students were enrolled on the course. Around 8-10 were active in terms of participation (showing up at the weekly classes, submitting assignments and working on the project) - There wasn’t a huge attrition in the sense that perhaps 12-13 people showed up in the classes on the first day, and several continued till the end.
Sudents came from a variety of backgrounds, and had different experiences/ expertise. Those who participated were motivated and interested.

The course organiser was very motivated and energetic. His commitment to open source, open web, open education was visible through the course content and discussions. It possibly also seeped through to the participants as well.

Weekly Discussions

- Tokbox completely changed the nature of the synchronous discussions as you could “see” each other. It was like attending a round table discussion as you were facing all the students.
As John mentioned in the final discussion, Tokbox increased commitment and connection. Personally, I would agree with it.
Once, when I joined the class, my video did not turn on. Stian had joined the class and had just finished speaking when I entered. Somehow, there followed a 2-3 minutes of silence. I was not on video and felt that allowed me to not feel any pressure to talk at the moment. Had I been on video, I would have felt much more uncomfortable - and would have probably tried to initiate a conversation.
Often, John would take updates on the project status. Having not been regular about my work as a student, I felt slightly uncomfortable saying that. I think the video had a big part to play in it. I assume that I would have worked more if I had more time on my hands.

- I would think that the comfort level in the class increased as the course progressed.

- The discussions in class were quite formal and focussed. Participants were not too associated with others’ projects and hence did not have suggestions directed towards each other. Reasons could be a combination of the following:
1) Everybody’s projects were quite separate - different technologies/datasets being used and talked about.
2) Six weeks was perhaps less time for one time to work on a project enough to discuss it with people around.
3) The learning environment did not encourage feedback and conversations in class.

(Personally, I often did not have any suggestions as the problems faced by students were very specific. Sometimes I would miss a part of the description of the idea or problem, and did not think it was appropriate to interrupt and clarify. Also, we were all kinda firming up the idea/ implementation and needed to work a bit ourselves before seeking external feedback.)

- John’s experience in this class was crucial. He often helped students with ideas/ solutions. I also thought that his technical expertise/ experience was handy and useful in the course. The students had somebody to learn from, and direct individual problems to (which I think is often important for sustained motivation and learning). Perhaps in the absence of an experienced organiser, one of the students might have stepped up to help. However, that is speculation. A couple of student did offer to help in certain technical areas. (There sure could/ should have been separate interaction between participants that I completely missed)

- As brought up in the last session, John put together all the course content and lead all the classes for the course. There was not too much effort in terms of sharing knowledge by the participants. Interesting ideas were shared for making such a class more collaborative.

- I thought the usage of the IM was very interesting. There were fewer barriers to talking here - It provided a place for more casual conversations, sharing links and thoughts, issue resolution. Conversations here did now require one to wait, or a permission to begin to talk.

Asynchronous Discussions

- Students submitted their assignments (write-ups) through the P2PU discussion forum for the course.
- Apart from that, there weren’t too many discussions on the discussion forum.

Navigation Issues/ Suggestions for the P2PU website:

(to be continued..)

Dennis Riedel's picture
Dennis Riedel
Fri, 2010-05-07 11:02

Thank you Tanushree for starting this. Reading your notes, I made some comments I like to share:

On the course idea
I would agree that the course itself was not very suitable for people without any technical background on Internet technologies. The idea to create separate courses which concentrate on subjects like "HTML/CSS", "JavaScript" and "PHP"/"RoR"/"Python" sounds suitable for introductionary purposes. Although, the programming languages have developed a lot in the past, so these could be separated in different levels also, e.g. "PHP - Introduction", "PHP - Beginner", "PHP - Intermediate", ... and so on.

On "Open Web"
While working in an corporate environment, you might actually not enter the idea space of the open web as you work on B2B or B2C problems day in day out. It was very insightful to learn about this direction and philosophy of "openness".
The knowledge that was shared was crucial and important. It is not only important to know that somebody somewhere has already created/invented and published something similar to your idea or problem solution and that you can build on that. Sadly this is mistaken by a lot of companies saying that everything already exists, e.g. "I have seen this on Facebook, why do you need 8h programming this!?" (actually in this quote are found multiple misunderstandings), then trying to exploit these open resources without giving back anything (acknowledgements to the original author, financial support, source code).
But for the programmer himself the concept of open data, open source and the community gives him a lot of opportunities to improve himself, his skill set and to find the thing he really is interested in. At least, he does not need to invent the wheel himself again, learns from what other people have done already, is able to start his thinking from where others stopped and improve therefore the existing solution. Thinking on problems at the edge is also more engaging and rewards/feedback from the community are often positive and immediate.

On the course organizer
I agree with the perception of John´s high committment and interest in the subject and that this made the overall experience and engagement very positive.

On the weekly discussions
Video conferencing, as represented by Tokbox in our case, is a wonderful tool to encourage participation. I agree with the problems the course experienced in contexts of feedback from peers. From my point of view the time difference is a problem when trying to establish a live conversation and feedback session. As everybody presented his project during the live session and not already in form of a post on the discussion board or a blog prior to the meeting, it was not possible for others to prepare feedback, test the application or even contribute.
The problem domains were also very different, so without a thorough introduction into the problem it was quite difficult for others to give any comments or contributions.

John Britton's picture
John Britton
Mon, 2010-05-10 02:09

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for the great comments on the course. And a big thanks to those of you who were able to publish your projects. I wanted to come back for more, but I've had to travel the past two weekends so I couldn't make our regularly scheduled times.

I'm working on preparing some more courses and I'll be sure to contact you all about them when I know more details.