yahoo! ui design library 02.16.2006, 7:08 PM
posted by jesse wilbur
There are several reasons that Yahoo! released some of their core UI code for free. A callous read of this would suggest that they did it to steal back some goodwill from Google (still riding the successful Goolge API release from 2002). A more charitable soul could suggest that Yahoo! is interested in making the web a better place, not just in their market-share. Two things suggest this—the code is available under an open BSD license, and their release of design patterns. The code is for playing with; the design patterns for learning from.
The design patterns library is a collection of best practice instructions for dealing with common web UI problems, providing both a solution and a rationale, with a detailed explanation of the interaction/interface feedback. This is something that is more familiar to me, but still stands as a valuable resource. It is a well-documented alternate viewpoint and reminder from a site that serves more users in one day than I'm likely to serve in a year.
Of course Yahoo! is hoping to reclaim some mind-space from Google with developer community goodwill. But since the code is general release, and not brandable in any particular way (it's all under-the-hood kind of stuff), it's a little difficult to see the release as a directly marketable item. It really just seems like a gift to the network, and hopefully one that will bear lovely fruit. It's always heartening to see large corporations opening their products to the public as a way to grease the wheels of innovation.
Posted by jesse wilbur on February 16, 2006 7:08 PM
Eddie A. Tejeda on February 16, 2006 9:43 PM:
"it's a little difficult to see the release as a directly marketable item"
Actually, I thought this Yahoo service was so great that I sent a link to all my developer friends. Yahoo's mission is accomplished. All my friends will now add yahoo to their bookmarks, develop really cool applications, other developers will see their code, wonder how they did it, notice that YAHOO is written all over the code, they'll go to Yahoo and bookmark the website, develop really cool applications. Rinse and repeat.
I also never thought about intergrating HotJobs or Music into to my websites. Now that I have a complete resource with great documentation, I think I just might (not really), and bring Yahoo more visitors with my great new website.
Your other points are dead on though. One of the reason why Google became so popular is because (in my opinion) they got nice and cozy with the geeks. The geeks loved how simple it was, the API helped a bunch, and geeks have a way of passing the word around. They are the ones who set home pages for their parents, college dorm rooms, company networks, in labs and other widely deployed computer networks. Geeks rave about how great the "technology" is and people listen to them.
Yahoo also wants to get cozy with developers ( even I am feeling a bit soft for them now ) and hopefully have the same effect. We'll see.
ben vershbow on February 21, 2006 5:57 PM:
But does this mean that everything will start looking like Yahoo?
Jesse Wilbur on February 21, 2006 10:33 PM:
Ah no. Not at all. Everything may start to act a little bit like Y! - but everything was starting to act like that anyway. AJAX and DHTML aren't new, exactly; they're just finally able to be implemented without breaking in a large minority of browsers. So this was the future - now the future is easier.