eval( '(' + YahooWebServices + ')' );

Our friend Jeff McManus over at the Yahoo! Developer Network clued us in to Y! Web Services now being available in a delicious new flavor: JSON–JavaScript Object Notation. Say bye-bye to XML parsing and the need for (very much) intermediary code when building Web 2.0 or single-page applications using Y!’s services and data. Simply fetch a wodge of JSON representing serialized results from Yahoo!’s servers, eval() (pronounced “evaluate”) to turn it back into a JavaScript object, and your application is dealing with ordinary JavaScript objects. And even if you’re not writing your code in JavaScript, there’s most likely a JSON parser for your programming language of choice, allowing you to skip all the XML bits and get on with your application.

I can’t tell you how useful a bootstrap it is–purists’ shuddering at the thought of a language-specific encoding of data over the wire aside–to deal directly with data in a way your programming language (and application) understands. In May of 2000 when I released the Open API for our Meerkat RSS aggregator, I produced something similar in the form of a PHP-serialized objects.

Also, I’ve been meaning to mention Toni Schneider‘s P.S. on the latest Yahoo! Widgets (nee Konfabulator) featuring access to your personal Yahoo! (rather than just aggregate) data:

PS: Now that widgets can access personal user data such as Yahoo photo albums, calendars and address books it is possible for any developer to look at our new widgets and figure out how to tap into that data as well. However, please note that the calendar/address book/etc APIs that we’re using in these new widgets are not officially supported through the Yahoo Developer Network, so proceed at your own risk (or wait for the official APIs to come out).

Yahoo!—particularly their Yahoo! Developer Network, continues to open things up with abandon to third-party Web app developers willing to give the emerging Yahoo! platform a whirl.