Strong opinions, weakly held

Simon Willison on the Flickr API

Over at the Flickr developer blog, Kellan Elliott-McCrea interviews Simon Willison about how his new project, Wildlife Near You, uses the Flickr API. Simon explained how the site came to be here — it was built by a team of geeks who went to an exotic locale to see what they could build in a week. The interview is a great read if you want to get jazzed about Web services — providing a robust machine interface to a site’s functionality can really unlock a ton of power.

Wildlife Near You is definitely worth browsing as well, just as a primer on what can be done quickly these days if you have a lot of talent and you’re starting from scratch. I particularly love the lists of species found on the place pages. They’re the most aesthetically pleasing and useful tag cloud implementation that I’ve seen.

Update: I left out the link to the interview itself.


  1. I like the idea, but it sorta seems to be influenced by the place they were. Granted, it’s not “Old Nazi Bunkers Near You”, but I’d be intrigued to try this in different locales to see how the choice of locale influences the project developed at the locale.

  2. Nat’s tag clouds are really rather cool 🙂

    @Jason: there really was very little wildlife that we saw (and does Alderney actually count as exotic?). The two projects coming out of the second and third forts are different, although both still social media-ish; one from a castle, one from just a big house (but still isolated; that’s kind of important to achieve the velocity). I really want to start doing some farther from the UK, so maybe we’ll get some radically different projects once we kick that off 🙂

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