The Scribblenet

APIs, Machine Tags & Magic Words — Building the Do What I Mean Engine

Aaron Straup Cope
March 21, 2007

Hi, My Name Is Aaron



Anti Platform Initiative

Architecture of Participation

I couldn't do what I did with Linux for Windows, even if I had the source code. The architecture just wouldn't support it.

Linus Torvalds


The man in charge should never enter in to discussions, because he loses authority by debate. ... [P]eople call govenors constructors of society.

Antoni Gaudi


[W]alking the line between making it easy enough for people to bother putting data in to a system and still useful enough to make it worth the trouble of getting it out.


Data, Not Answers

Data - Structure >= Structure - Data


Image courtesy George Oates. Also, Joshua hates machine tags.


Flickr Is An API Application

It happens to be written in JavaScript.

But Wait!! There's More!!!

  • 5 official tools
  • 8 development tools
  • 4 games
  • 1 Java app
  • 4 Linux apps
  • 4 OS X apps
  • 3 mobile apps
  • 15 plugins
  • 10 windows apps
  • 50 web apps
  • 3 ActionScript libraries
  • 1 C library
  • 1 ColdFusion library
  • 1 Common Lisp library
  • 1 cUrl library
  • 1 Delphi library
  • 2 Java libraries
  • 1 .NET library
  • 1 Objective-C library
  • 3 Perl libraries
  • 3 PHP libraries
  • 3 Python libraries
  • 1 RealBasic library
  • 3 Ruby libraries

These lists are incomplete.

Stop Making Sense

We've realized that what people remember about a work of art often isn't described in museum collections documentation, and are aware that the vocabulary of museum professionals (curators and registrars) isn't always that of the general public.

Machine Tags

Machine tags are not RDF but they could play RDF on TV.

tag as dwim

Ignorance Is Bliss

Magic Words

You look like you're trying to do something, perhaps you'd like me to know what you mean!

Magic : Traditional

Fleur Petite Syrah 2003

Magic : 2.0


vin:wine="petite syrah"

Magic : Classic

{{Fleur|Petite Syrah|2003}}

Magic : Insane

Fleur Petite Syrah 2003

tag as fleur, syrah, 2003, wine

What Would Duct Tape Do?