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Movietally and Understanding Web 2.0 Design 82

haym37 writes "Ajit Jaokar over at the Open Gardens blog has an article up on a growing service called movietally. The service allows users to tag the movies they've seen and receive automatic recommendations for movies they might like to see. He describes it as a 'textbook case of web 2.0 design' and goes into detail about the fundamental principles of web 2.0 design and how movietally relates to them. The interesting part about all of this is that, according to the article, the founder is only fifteen years old and created it in under a month."
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Movietally and Understanding Web 2.0 Design

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  • by SilentGhost ( 964190 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @04:36PM (#16169585) Journal
    search movies / porn : your search returned no results
    how exactly old is he?
  • Blog Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by rjstanford ( 69735 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @04:36PM (#16169589) Homepage Journal
    Since the summary doesn't see fit to actually post a link to the FA: enjoy [futuretext.com].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rjstanford ( 69735 )
      My mistake. The link to the article wasn't in the sentence, "Ajit Jaokar over at the Open Gardens blog has an article up on a growing service called movietally." it was on the phrase tag the movies they've seen in the sentence, "The service allows users to tag the movies they've seen and receive automatic recommendations for movies they might like to see."

      Silly me.

      And /. wonders why I don't bother to subscribe...
      • Personally I'd have put that tag on "an article." The link on "tag the movies they've seen" is ok, but it's not as clear what I'll get by clicking on it. Still way better than the typical placement, of course, which would have probably been on "Movietally." (Which you used correctly, linking to the main page of the site.)
  • Meh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Eightyford ( 893696 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @04:36PM (#16169591) Homepage
    I think I'll wait for web 2.1 to come along so that all the bugs will be fixed.
  • by carpeweb ( 949895 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @04:58PM (#16169747) Journal
    A previous post mentioned that Netflix did this a long time ago. Amazon did the same thing for books even before that. So how exactly does this demonstrate anything compelling about web 2.0?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rjstanford ( 69735 )
      I dunno... doing the same thing that other people have done, but with blog-pr and rounded corners? Sounds pretty much like web 2.0 to me...
    • by jrumney ( 197329 )
      Nevermind Netflix, what about ringo@media.mit.edu back in the early 1990s - before Web 0.9 even existed?
      • Thank you.

        The subject of recommendation engines seems to come up pretty regularly, and no-one ever seems to give props to RINGO->HOMR->Firefly.

        I suppose no-one mentions Tapestry when they wax rhapsodic about tagging, either...but then again it didn't really work very well.

    • there was a really nice site even as far back as 1997 that let you rate lots of movies and get recommendations based on people with other ratings by people with similar taste. it was a property of E! entertainment, but i'll be damned if i can remember the name of it
    • by nwbvt ( 768631 )
      It took an existing idea and added a bunch of buzzwords to make it sound new and cool. Isn't that the very definition of "Web 2.0"?
  • Web 2.0 (Score:5, Funny)

    by isaacklinger ( 966649 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @05:03PM (#16169781)
    A "textbook example" of Web 2.0?

    What the author of the article sees:
    1. "Writing Semantic Markup: Transition to XML"
    2. "Remixing Content: About When and What, not Who or Why"
    3. "Emergent Navigation and Relevance: Users are in Control"
    4. "Adding Metadata Over Time: Communities Building Social Information"
    5. "Shift to Programming: Separation of Structure and Style"
    What I see:
    1. Tags
    2. Large font
    3. Rounded edges
    4. Top-right search box
    5. Prominent, two-tone, quasi-logical logo
    • by yumyum ( 168683 )
      Forgot one:

      6) Read "Database for Dummies"
    • by Dahamma ( 304068 )
      What I see:
      1. Tags ...


      Really?? What I see:

      Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Can't connect to MySQL server on '127.0.0.1' (4) in /usr/local/apache/htdocs/database_connect.php on line 5

      We have encountered an error.

      An error occurred while connecting to the database. Details of this error have been sent to an administrator.
      Please check back later!


      Go go Web 2.0!

    • now hold on...you forgot the most important web 2.0 "feature"...

      6. Gradiant header background.
  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwater.gmail@com> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @05:18PM (#16169901) Homepage
    The service allows users to tag the movies they've seen and receive automatic recommendations for movies they might like to see.

    That assumes that users tag consistently, fairly, clearly, and correctly. It's also vulnerable to spamming and trolling.
     
    Tagging by users works within small communities - but I doubt it will scale up.
    • by tawhaki ( 750181 )
      Tagging by users works within small communities - but I doubt it will scale up.
      It seems to work fine for last.fm.
      • No it doesn't, people are maliciously tagging things left and right..read the forums, there's a big deal about it right now.

        <sarcasm> I mean, Immortal is tagged "Death Metal" when they are most certainly "Black Metal" !!! </sarcasm>

        /me waits for proper MusicBrainz integration with patience.
      • by Pope ( 17780 )
        Not really. I've done searches on Google for various band names or songs, and inevitably there'll be a last.fm entry, with the wrong information. It's mainly why I've never bothered looking further into last.fm.
  • Also collaborative filtering, rate a bunch of products, which could well be films, or anything else, and have products recommended by people who rated other things in a similar way to you. I have to be honest, it could be implemented better but it basically works.

    http://www.wikilens.org/ [wikilens.org]

     
  • by lxt ( 724570 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @05:32PM (#16170023) Journal
    It's certainly not a textbook case of good design. The two identical search boxes, the huge fonts for the tags...the fact when I visit the homepage if I had no idea what a tagging system was (and plenty of people don't) I'd be totally confused...

    Since when did Web 2.0 = forgetting all about usability and going with 'it looks minimal, so therefore cool'

    Oh, wait. It's always been like that.
    • by BrynM ( 217883 ) * on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:21PM (#16172091) Homepage Journal
      Since when did Web 2.0 = forgetting all about usability and going with 'it looks minimal, so therefore cool'
      It may look minimal, but it's a monster of table driven madness. Viewing the source reveals that they are thinking of W2.0 in the marketing and social sense only. The page validation [w3.org] shows that their programmers don't really give a care what HTML is and how relates to W2.0 [wikipedia.org] in the first place. There's not even a doctype declared. A textbook of W2.0 design my ass. Movietally is more of a textbook example of jumping on a marketing bandwagon and ignoring how to actually code symantically.
      • Or better, if you had RTFA (or even summary), a textbook case of a 15y/o kid designing a website (for fun) in a month. No big surprise there.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chapter80 ( 926879 )
      I had no idea what a tagging system was (and plenty of people don't)
      Agreed. Most taggers on slashdot don't seem to have a clue, and like to use it as a way to add an editorial comment. Like tagging something "yes", "no", "maybe", "slownewsday" or "duh". Worthless. Do you think anyone's ever going to come back and search for all articles with the tag "yes"?
    • Since when did Web 2.0 = forgetting all about usability and going with 'it looks minimal, so therefore cool'
      Didn't Wired patent that content model back in the early 90s? s/minimal/jarring/, of course...
    • I agree with you.
  • last.fm anyone? (Score:3, Informative)

    by MaliciousSmurf ( 960366 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @05:43PM (#16170103)
    I am guessing he cribbed the idea from the likes of http://last.fm/ [last.fm] , a music site which has a similar system. (Editorialization: Except better)
  • The interesting part about all of this is that, according to the article, the founder is only fifteen years old and created it in under a month."

    It's not really a complex system he has set up here. But really at 15, this isn't that impressive. We're in a technology advanced time now where junior high students are taking programming classes and building their own site and computers all the time. Computers are still the future. What would have been interesting is if he was 5 years old. Think about i

    • It's not really a complex system he has set up here. But really at 15, this isn't that impressive. ... is it really far fetched that a 15 year old could do this?

      Sure, anyone could have done it but he did. This guy just beat all the big studios and media companies to the punch with a simple, stand alone and useful service. That's impressive at any age. What cool ideas have you implemented? By age 15?

      The onlything I don't like is his terms of service. I stopped reading where it stated that I was re

      • Well I am not sure if it counts, but I wrote a Bowling League Manager in FORTRAN at age 16 for my college programming Prof...he offered anyone in his class a deal. They could either go to class and do the work or write a bowling league program that handled handicapping and other league minutia.

        Since I didn't like waking up before noon, I took him up on it...a couple of weeks later I had a very functional bowling league program. I showed it to the prof., of course he got "featuritus" and asked for some mor
  • I think the important point here is that the kid is 15 years old and is doing some decent work in making a site using semi-recent ideas in web development.

    In many ways, the site seems to be a grotesque travesty of web 2.0 memes. For example, one of the points the article mentions:

    5. "Shift to Programming: Separation of Structure and Style"

    The site uses tables for layout - this certainly isn't characteristic of Web 2.0 or seperating structure from style. 90% of web 2.0 sites do it better, with CSS.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by daviddennis ( 10926 )
      I'm building a pseudo Web 2.0(*) site right now, and I wanted to use a modern, CSS-based liquid layout. So I bought a book, and dove in.

      There are a lot of confusing workarounds needed to make a pure CSS layout work. In particular, it's extremely difficult to make table cells fill with color for the entire column instead of having the color end at the end of the content, producing a very strange effect. The best workaround seems to be to create a colored image the width of the table, with different colors
      • There are times when tables, bold tags, or other html simplicity just works better. CSS is very useful, but like all things it isn't the only consideration. XML is like that -- useful, but not critical. Don't get me started on "Ajax" which doesn't justify having a name of its own as it is simply the codification of a technique that's been around a while.

        If the job gets done well, the technology was a good choice. I have programmers who start with a technology before they have a design.
      • by oSand ( 880494 )

        It seems like CSS does OK for fixed layouts but if you want to have a 200 pixel left sidebar and leave the rest of the page for content, I just can't figure out how to do it and have it look as nice as a simple table-driven layout.

        Simple? You have tags nested three deep to display two things. It is certainly a simpler mental model though. An x,y grid is easier to grasp than the layout of boxes according to floats, clears and positioning.

        For a 2 col layout:

        <body>
        <div style="width:200

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Osty ( 16825 )

        I wanted to use a modern, CSS-based liquid layout. So I bought a book, and dove in.

        There's your first problem. No book is going to give you all of the latest techniques for doing "cool" things with CSS. For that you need to poke around online at places like CSS Zen Garden [csszengarden.com], A List Apart [alistapart.com], Liquid Designs [cssliquid.com], etc. If you must buy a book, a pocket reference is the best way to go (and even that really isn't necessary, since you can find good references [w3.org] online).

        It seems like CSS does OK for fixed layouts but

  • Besides the non web-2.0 versions at Amazon/NetFlix/the like, Spout [spout.com] has been doing this for awhile with full tagging, community features, and everything else that screams web 2.0. Furthermore, Spout has a stronger developer base and a more flushed-out featureset. While I think it's great that a 15-year-old can put together a neat website incorporating many of these newer interface and social networking rules, I prefer to use a really well made website. Flickr, digg, and the rest aren't just popular becaus
  • Ahhh, the continued irrational exhuberance of Web 2.0. Where's the beef?

    If you want a real site for getting movie recommendations then try http://www.moviefreak.org/ [moviefreak.org] or any of a number of movie recommendation sites that will give you better results w/o all the Web 2.0 hype.
  • Let's be honest for a few minutes here - most online reviews are either so wordy you'd be saving time just watching the flick or they consist of some 12-year-old saying "OMG TiHz M0v13 iZ T3h SuX0r!!!!1". It's hardly compelling enough content to make a site worth a visit. I've also never really felt that what was lacking from my blog* (which no one reads anyway) was an RSS feed of someone else's favorite movies. I'm not one to toot Apple's horn, but they already have a peer review system, members' "favor
  • AJAX concepts aren't exacly rocket science, I am sure a 13 year old could do it given the drive (*sigh* to be a teenager with all that time and energy to devote to sheer folly.)

    When I was 15 I was learning BASIC in highschool on PETs, back then that was about it for the resources available to me. Nowadays there is a lot more available opportunity for kids to explore. (thank goodness for FOSS)

    I'm really glad to read some of them are picking up on stuff like that.

  • Textbook case? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MasterC ( 70492 ) <cmlburnett@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @10:04PM (#16171773) Homepage
    I'm not the first to say this but I delved a bit into the sites code and it is by far a textbook case. It's clearly work of a coder who has never done this stuff before.

    First, some links call JS functions. I *hate* this. I'm talking the three lnks under the "Browse" section on the main page.

    Second, regarding the links above. They initiate an ajax update of a div. What it doesn't do is tell the user that it is updating. Just now, I waited 30 seconds for the div to update. This is certainly due to slashdotting but it demonstrates poor design.

    Third, again regarding the links above. All three contents update the same DIV which means the content stays stale and is now mislabeled.

    Fourth, he uses a global variable to store the XMLHttpRequest/XMLHTTP object. This means you can't have multiple outstanding requests.

    That's just the first page and the ajax at a cursory glance.

    The visual aspects are equally appalling and it doesn't seem like it will scale at all. Right now there are 27 people who have seen The Matrix. What happens when a million people use this site. Personally, I don't care to see all million names.

    I also don't get this tags movement. Mostly, why should genres be freeform? Currently there's "scifi" and there's "sci-fi". Doesn't make sense to tag with genres, characters, or people. These are all fixed things.

    All that said: the site is poorly executed for what it's trying to achieve. The Wikipedia link is nice but what about IMDB? How about pulling up the WP or IMDB page in an iframe (but that's "old school", what about an innerHTML on a DIV)? Perhaps do some web service interaction with amazon and get some reference links out of it? How about web service interaction to google?

    What does this site do for me? Tell me what other people watch? I don't want to know what everybody watches, I want to know what other people like me watch and recommend. I like Baseketball but I guarantee my dad doesn't so why should his tastes impact mine?

    Not to rag too much on a 15 year old, but overall the site isn't slashdot worthy. But what else is new around here? All I know is that if this site was in a text book...man...that'd be one sucky book.
  • A growing service? According to Alexa it isn't even in the top 100,000 websites, and it has been going nowhere since early August.

    If by a "textbook case of web 2.0 design", he means a textbook case of how not to do it, I think I can agree with him, the site is hideous!

    And, of course, the fact that it is far from a new idea, everyone from Netflix to Amazon have offered collaborative filtering on movies for years.

  • the founder is only fifteen years old and created it in under a month.
    And slashdot destroyed it in under 5 minutes!
  • movies.yahoo.com has been doing this for well over a year, and it's very easy and fast. The recommendations, after you've told it enough about what you like, are actually pretty spot-on.

    Plus you have the added benefit of being able to link directly to where that movie is showing, the cast, plot, reviews, etc. And if you have way too much money, pay the extra fee and get your tickets from Fandango.

    Of course it works with old movies just as much as new releases.
  • Writing Semantic Markup: Transition to XML
    from: Web 2.0 for Designers [digital-web.com] which is linked by the referenced blog,br> One of the biggest steps in realizing Web 2.0 is the transition to semantic markup, or markup that accurately describes the content its applied to. The most popular markup languages, HTML and XHTML, are used primarily for display purposes, with tags to which designers can apply styles via CSS.

    It's not because somewhere in the past rss had something to do with rdf(s), w3c's first reincarnita

  • The interesting part about all of this is that, according to the article, the founder is only fifteen years old and created it in under a month."

    Yes, and MySpace was created and founded by that nice guy called Tom.

    This sounds like marketing bullcrap to me.
  • Mission statement (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "Movietally is, simply, a collection of movies."

    No it isn't. It is a collection of opinions of movies.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

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