Working

eBay Developers Conference 2006

With less than a month to go, this year’s eBay Developers Conference is really beginning to gel. I’ve been working with a number of people all across eBay to put together a great show. So far, we’ve got:

  • Tracks on eBay, PayPal, Skype, Shopping.com, and ProStores Web services and APIs
  • Sessions on, for lack of a better phrase, “Web 2.0” content, including AJAX, widgets, XUL, mashups, and Chris Anderson presenting on “the long tail.”
  • Keynote talks by Pierre Omidyar & Scott Cook, the head of eBay corporate strategy, and the head of eBay corporate architecture.
  • Business talks and panels by Digg founder Kevin Rose, SocialText founder Ross Mayfield, SixApart’s Anil Dash, SoftTech Venture Consulting’s Jeff Clavier, and others.
  • A half day unconference, where you can get together to share your knowledge on the topics that matter to you. (Check out our Conference Wiki to start participating before the show begins.)
  • An opening kick off party at the House of Blues, a beer bash the next night, and general Vegas fun and glamour. (Did I mention the show is in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino?)

Skype: 100,000,000 Users and Counting

If you go to the Skype home page at the right time tomorrow, you can watch the user counter roll to 100,000,000. (As of 6:12 Pacific it’s at 99,911,164.)

That means the Skype userbase has almost doubled since eBay bought it last fall. Wow.

eBay Express is Live

We’ve finally rolled out eBay Express, our new fixed-price shopping site. In fine Web 2.0 fashion, it’s a beta (well, technically, it’s a preview). However, I’ve been playing with an internal release for a few weeks now and it’s already in quite fine shape.

Heading to Germany for eBay Live! Germany and Entwicklertag

I’m heading to Dusseldorf, Germany for eBay Developer Day (Entwicklertag) and eBay Live! Germany. If it’s anything like eBay Live! US, it should be a blast.

My talk is on “Software innovations from the US,” which (fortunately for me) appears to be in English. All the other talks are in German. :) I’m looking forward to seeing my friends at eBay Germany again and meeting a number of new German eBay developers.

Right now, I’m scheduled to work May 26-28, but I will either arrive a few days early or stay a few days late. What should I do? It’s my first time in Germany, so I’m open to anything. I’m trying to stay somewhere near the Dusseldorn / Frankfurt area, so I don’t spend all my time travelling, but I’m open to anything.

Also, if you can’t make it to Dusseldorf, I’m able and willing to talk to any Germany user groups about eBay Web services (or PHP). Let me know if you’re interested in setting up a user group meeting, or you just want to hang out.

OSCON 2006 Proposal Accepted

This year’s OSCON isn’t until July, but I’m ready to book my tickets because my proposal on “Dirty secrets of PHP 5’s ext/soap extension” was accepted today.

I’ve spent many months using ext/soap with eBay’s WSDL writing sample code and testing out various functions. Bit-by-bit I’ve picked up a number of tricks and discovered quite a few un- (or mis- or poorly) documented features. Thanks to this talk, I will finally have the excuse to put them all together in one place.

Here’s the official description:

PHP 5’s ext/soap extension is an excellent Web services client. However, while the easy things are easy, lack of documentation means the hard things can appear downright impossible. Starting with SOAPClient basics and building upwards, learn the hidden secrets necessary to conquer even the strangest WSDL.

The one bad part about this talk is that I won’t be giving “Abracadabra and hocus pocus: Magical methods and PHP 5” or “Consuming Web Services Using PHP 5.” Of the two, the first would have been a blast to give, but I already have slides for the second, which is nice. (Well, I haven’t heard one way or another about those talks, but I’m assuming they were rejected. That’s fine, since I only have time to prepare one talk.)

See you in Portland!

More from MIX 06

Ever since I started at eBay, I’ve been excited about using our Web services to improve the eBay experience for buyers. In particular, I think there are lots of interesting ways to integrate eBay into programs other than Web browsers. So, when we looked to put together demos for MIX 06, we decide to show off a Live.com search widget and Outlook 12 integration (see yesterday’s post for more information).

After poking around Feedster and Technorati, I’m glad to see other people are equally excited by these ideas:

The best demo was one that showed how you can integrate eBay with Microsoft Outlook, giving you a single place to manage your auctions. One can envision many similar uses that aggregate task-based communications into your email software.


Trapper Markelz

[Joe Belfiore] demo’d a cool add in that eBay created for monitoring auctions. Although not an avid eBayer this is something I’ve wanted for a while.

eBay had a talk about building their live.com search gadget – source speaks louder than words – it’s available on www.microsoftgadgets.com.

Jon Gallant

Later today I’m hosting a round table, so if you’re still at MIX, come on by the eBay table and I’ll buy you lunch.

Other links:

ETech 2006 Review

I spent much of last week down in San Diego for ETech, O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference. I’ve been to a number of O’Reilly shows, but this was my first time at ETech.

I really enjoyed the show. Lots of interesting people there. One nice thing about ETech is that there was a little more emphasis on the social instead of the technical. Technology is always fun, but you need to remember why you’re deploying it, and how its design affects the people and groups who interact with it, both positively and negatively.

To that end, I was a little disappointed in the lack of diversity. Delyn guestimated the crowd at only 10% female. Christine backs that up with a slightly more accurate 11.62%. This was even lower than OSBC! I would have thought that ETech would have had more women than the norm.

Besides, after last year’s conversation, I was hoping for more. I just did a rough count of the speaker ratio, and it actually grades out at an improved 15%. (I removed all the paid sponsor slots, since Rael has no control over that.)

As someone who works on my own conference, and has also picked papers for a track at another O’Reilly Convention, I know it’s tough. Frankly, you just don’t get enough submissions by women. And I know Rael’s working on it.

But the show would be far more interesting to me if it had a more diverse set of speakers and attendees. However, that does remind me to review the eBay Developers Conference speaker list before we go final with it.

How do Open Source Communities Best Flourish?

I was on an interesting panel at the OSBC West yesterday titled “The Open Source Community Imperative: Methodologies, Mechanics, and Metrics

Things began on a good note when, earlier in the day, I read that Oracle bought Sleepycat. Since Sleepycat CEO Mike Olson was scheduled to be on my panel, that was bound lead to some informative exchanges. Ultimately, I think Mike did a great job talking about the sale. I agree with him: at the end of the day, the best way to make sure Sleepycat continues to do the right thing for the community is to watch them closely and make sure they’re walking the walk. Then again, it’s not like he was facing a hostile crowd.

From the eBay perspective, I focused more on the platform we open up using Web services than the straight-up traditional open source software we distribute (or are working on distributing). I think open platforms and data will be as important in the next decade as open source software was in the past one.

Rather than hear what I thought about the talk, check out Ross Mayfield (of Socialtext) and Christine Herron (of the Omidyar Network) had to say.