Wowhead, The New ThottBot

wowheadIf you are a fan of World of Warcraft, there’s a high probability that you have found yourself at Thottbot – a search engine for WoW data – a time or two. My wife and I have used that as a resource for quite some time when trying to find the optimal monster to kill for a given item, the location of a hard-to-find NPC, etc. Thottbot was our one-stop-shop.

Enter Wowhead. (Yes, that’s the correct spelling)

What is Wowhead? Its basically a sexy-looking Thottbot. It provides:

  • A clean and usable interface
  • Colors that more closely jive with the feel of WoW
  • Item/Profession/Class information
  • Embeddable Talent Calculator (you can put the calculator on your site)
  • Periodic contests

What is really exciting at Wowhead is that they plan to create a set of APIs for Developers. I have some ideas that I’d love to accomplish with WoW data, however, it would seem silly to re-create the wheel and create my own Thottbot/Wowhead. Creating a WoW mashup would be much more desirable. I’ll be watching and waiting with fingers crossed.

Visual JQuery

jquery After my excitement about jQuery since The Ajax Experience, one of my fellow developers at PSU has been checking the toolkit out. In her searches for documentation found Visual jQuery, a nice graphical/textual categorized API for the jQuery toolkit! Its a pretty snazzy learning tool if you aren’t already familiar with all the functions jQuery has to offer (found in the jQuery API).

I’ll be using Visual jQuery to explore to toolkit and see what it has to offer and using the JQuery API for quick syntax lookup.

Oh, and on a side note, the people over at Visual jQuery have begun a jQuery magazine in pdf format…pretty neat-o.

Alexa Search Data For The Masses

Alexa – for those of you that don’t know – is an Amazon owned subsidiary that tracks “valuable information about the web, how it is used, what is important and what is not.” For example, you can search Alexa for amazon.com and find traffic information, related links, etc. Alexa is a hugely useful tool for developers that want to watch their traffic and compare against competing sites. While combing sites and gathering statistics (which it does by the use of the Alexa toolbar as well as piggy backing onto the back of various other toolbars), Alexa has amassed huge amounts of data…and when I say huge amounts of data…I’m serious! Alexa spiders 4 billion to 5 billion pages a month and archives 1 terabyte of data a day.

They’ve been stockpiling search data since its inception in 1996. The great news? They are now opening it up to the public as a pay to play access to their data! Its called the Alexa Web Search Platform. Wired News writes:

To illustrate the new service’s potential, Alexa developed a photo search engine that allows users to query photo metadata normally hidden from standard keyword searches, such as the date the photo was taken or the camera used.

[…]

From computer scientists to web hobbyists, [Alexa CEO Bruce] Gilliat predicted Alexa’s inexpensive services will spawn numerous creative results.

And Slashdot writes:

The Alexa framework is not for the weak of heart — expect to learn how to use their C API, and expect to pay micro-amounts for requests and CPU cycles used — but it also seems to be more powerful than the rival APIs from Yahoo and Google.

While I have no huge reasons to sign-up and pay (however cheaply) for this service just yet, I look forward to seeing what comes of it! Having that much data available at your fingertips is a huge boon to the development and marketing community!