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Building OpenSocial Apps: A Field Guide to Working with the MySpace Platform

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?The authors did a great job covering the various ins and outs of OpenSocial, and especially the specific MySpace quirks. If you are a new social networking application developer or even someone who just wants to write better OpenSocial Apps, then this book has what you are looking for.?

?Cassandra Doll, Software Engineer, Google

The Insider?s Guide to Writing OpenSocial Applications for MySpace?and Beyond!

When you write OpenSocial ...

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Building OpenSocial Apps: A Field Guide to Working with the MySpace Platform

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“The authors did a great job covering the various ins and outs of OpenSocial, and especially the specific MySpace quirks. If you are a new social networking application developer or even someone who just wants to write better OpenSocial Apps, then this book has what you are looking for.”

–Cassandra Doll, Software Engineer, Google

The Insider’s Guide to Writing OpenSocial Applications for MySpace–and Beyond!

When you write OpenSocial applications for MySpace, you can reach millions of users overnight. Building OpenSocial Apps shows you how, one step at a time. Whether you’re building casual widgets or feature-rich, professional applications, this book will teach you everything you need to know.

The authors are the leading experts on OpenSocial and MySpace and have personally helped construct the MySpace platform and OpenSocial standards. In this indispensable book, they walk you through the entire process of building apps, from signing up through building complex apps that can scale to thousands of users and interoperate on more than fifty social networks, such as Hi5, Orkut, and LinkedIn. They demonstrate today’s best practices for building OpenSocial applications and present dozens of tips for leveraging both MySpace and OpenSocial to their fullest. Coverage includes

  • Installing and working with the MySpace Developer Platform
  • Retrieving, parsing, and displaying user data, friend lists, and photos
  • Sending App invitations and notifications
  • Building mashups that communicate with third-party web services
  • Marketing your App and building your user base
  • Designing for performance, scalability, and fault tolerance
  • Securing MySpace and OpenSocial apps, and protecting users’ privacy
  • Building apps that display ads and accept micropayments

A companion web site ( includes an extensive library of downloadable source code and other support materials.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321619068
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 11/6/2009
  • Series: Developer's Library Series
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Cole is a software architect at MySpace and is a major contributor to building the MySpace Open Platform and keeping it committed to OpenSocial. He’s been a core contributor to the OpenSocial 0.9 specification and is the primary architect and implementer of OSML (OpenSocial Markup Language) on the MySpace platform. Chris has been in software for fifteen years and has spent much of that time riding the various waves of the Internet and pushing the boundaries of the Web.

Chad Russell is the lead developer on the MySpace OpenSocial team. He knows the OpenSocial spec front to back, in addition to every tip, trick, and nuance of the MySpace platform itself. Chad holds an engineering degree from the University of Toronto and currently resides in Seattle, Washington.

Jessica Whyte has worked for several years as a journalist, most recently with Journalists for Human Rights, and is currently a graduate student at the University of Washington, studying Human-Centered Design and Engineering. She lives in Seattle with her husband and coauthor, Chad Russell.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xvi

Acknowledgments xviii

About the Authors xix

Introduction xxi

Part I: Building Your First MySpace Application

Chapter 1: Your First MySpace App 3

Creating the App–“Hello World” 3

Installing and Running Your App 7

Summary 7

Chapter 2: Getting Basic MySpace Data 9

The Two Concepts That Every Developer Should Know 9

MySpace Data 10

Starting Our Tic-Tac-Toe App 10

Error Handling 24

Summary 27

Chapter 3: Getting Additional MySpace Data 29

How to Fetch a Friend List and Make Use of the Data 29

Fetching Media 39

Using opensocial.requestPermission and opensocial.hasPermission to Check a User’s Permission Settings 43

Summary 45

Chapter 4: Persisting Information 47

App Data Store 47

Cookies 56

Third-Party Database Storage 64

Summary 65

Chapter 5: Communication and Viral Features 67

Using opensocial.requestShareApp to Spread Your App to Other Users 67

Using opensocial.requestSendMessage to Send Messages and Communications 74

Getting Your App Listed on the Friend Updates with opensocial.requestCreateActivity Basics 79

Sending Notifications 88

Summary 90

Chapter 6: Mashups and External Server Communications 91

Communicating with External Servers 91

Mashups 92

Adding a Feed Reader to Our App 93

Adding an Image Search 112

Posting Data with a Form 114

Summary 114

Chapter 7: Flushing and Fleshing: Expanding Your App and Person-to-Person Game Play 117

Turn-Based Games 117

Supporting Person-to-Person Game Play 133

Finishing and Clearing a Game 144

“Real-Time” Play 146

Advantages and Disadvantages of

App Data P2P Play 148

Summary 148

Part II: Other Ways to Build Apps

Chapter 8: OAuth and Phoning Home 153

What Is OAuth? 153

Secure Phone Home 157

Spicing Up the Home and Profile Surfaces Using makeRequest 173

Summary 174

Chapter 9: External Iframe Apps 177


Sending Messages Using IFPC 208

Summary 212

Chapter 10: OSML, Gadgets, and the Data Pipeline 213

The Big Picture 213

Writing a Gadget 214

OpenSocial Markup Language (OSML) 225

Putting It Together: OSML Tic-Tac-Toe 226

Summary 238

Chapter 11: Advanced OSML: Templates, Internationalization, and View Navigation 239

Inline Tag Templates 239

Working with Subviews 245

HTML Fragment Rendering 248

Data Listeners 250

Internationalization and Message Bundles 255

Future Directions 260

Summary 261

Part III: Growth and How to Deal with It

Chapter 12: App Life Cycle 265

Publishing Your App 265

Managing Your App 274

Managing Developers 279

Suspension and Deletion of Your App 280

Summary 281

Chapter 13: Performance, Scaling, and Security 283

Performance and Responsiveness 283

Design for Scale 292

Stability and Fault Tolerance 299

User and Application Security 300

Summary 303

Chapter 14: Marketing and Monetizing 305

Using MySpace to Promote Your App 306

User Base and Viral Spreading 309

Ads 311

Micropayments 316

Interviews with Successful App Developers 318

Summary 326

Chapter 15: Porting Your App to OpenSocial 0.9 329

Media Item Support 330

Simplification of App Data 341


Summary 348

References 351

Index 355

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    Posted September 21, 2012


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