As I had promised yesterday in my little teaser, today (again at 2AM), I’m announcing the availability of “Flickr Search Connectr” for Windows 7. If you have a copy of Windows 7 and the tubes aren’t blocked, I encourage you to try it for yourself.
So what is this voodoo you might be asking? Well this is actually a combination of two components, both carefully put together in a couple of hours by amateur programmer yours truly. The first is an OpenSearch Description File generator (also known as the “Search Connector” in Windows 7) and the second is a Flickr web service. Combined, they allow you to search and access images on Flickr right in the Windows 7 Explorer using the new “Search Federation” platform.
Please note, because I’ve implemented a man-in-the-middle solution, it carries obvious performance penalties and as such please be patient when waiting for the results to load.
What federated search is about is the ability to search remote file repositories on the local network or web. In Windows 7, this feature is implemented natively in the shell. And because Microsoft is the evil monopoly it is, it’s implemented using open standards OpenSearch and RSS2 so it’s simple for developers to take advantage of.
As a theory as to why not many people are excited about this, the example Microsoft used to promote this feature (on their website and at PDC08) was searching an online Sharepoint server. Practical, but not cool at all. It may be an enterprise feature by design, but I think it has legs as a consumer feature too which is why I built this Flickr as a proof-of-concept.
If you want to know what makes searching within the shell cool, it means you’re interacting directly with the file. It’s a little clunky in the M3 Build 6801, but even still you can double click a picture to open it in larger view or set it as your background.
Now imagine the possibilities. Searching the files on your remote Windows Home Server, searching your documents on Google Docs, finding music on Pandora, finding videos on YouTube, finding PDFs from your library. Basically anywhere with a repository of files.
I look forward to the full MSDN documentation (no documentation now) to outline what this platform can do. Also can’t wait to see what other and more talented programmer can mash-up and most of all, which first parties will be first (pun) to support this powerful platform.