Twitter: SOA in Action

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Talk about incredible innovation - look at the application and service ecosystem around Twitter.  Here are just some examples:

  • On-line Commentary During an Off-line Event - The NY Times developed a beautiful visualization of popular words in Twitter posts during the Super Bowl.
  • Real-time Trends - Twistory streams real-time Twitter posts filtered to let you see what people like, hate, etc.
  • Local Tweeting - Pepsi came out with an impressive app during the South-by-Southwest events (SXSW) that overlays real-time tweets on a map
  • iPhone Apps - there are at least 100 Twitter related apps on the iTunes App Store, many of them free.  Two I use are TwitterFon and ReTweet.

Why is this happening?  It’s all about Twitter’s open application programming interface (API).  Twitter has opened up the interfaces (aka services) to its system so that anyone on the web can both perform the basic posting and account management functions and search the massive Tweet database, all from a programatic interface.

We can learn a lot from this:

  1. Open interfaces enable innovation.  In fact, facilitating an open development community around your services is even better.
  2. You can learn and experiment with SOA by working with “public” services like Twitter or Google’s Data Visualization API or UPS’s package tracking API
  3. Using “public” services does not necessarily require re-thinking your enterprise’s architectural approaches, but can give you hints on good/bad practices for your own “private” (internal to your company) SOA efforts.

I will write a few posts on private SOA, but here is a recent survey conducted by Diamond and MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research on the subject.

There are many more super Twitter tools and apps around.  Here is a list to start from: 17 Ways to Visualize the Twitter Universe.

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