One of my favourite app of recent times is Ben Marsh’s UKSnow, which uses people as sensors, and twitter as the collection mechanism – to track and visualise snowfall across the UK. So it was cool to come across a similar app of that tracks people’s likely voting preferences in the UK general election.
Step forward Twitvote UK.
I love the idea for a number of reasons, not least because I laid out this idea back in December 2004 in a post entitled On Attestation, Transparency, Microsoft Internal Choices and the Future of Market Research.
What I didn’t know when I first saw TwitvoteUK however was that its built by some folks that work at IBM. Not just any folks either- the Attick are closely associated with the IBM Hursley EightBar cluster, my team of the year in 2008. IBM middleware geeks as open data hackers. Now that is what I am talking about.
I often complain that IBM doesn’t do enough to make its technology more available and well understood by web developers- so this project was even more interesting. Technologies used in TwitvoteUK? OAuth, Twitter, the TheyWorkForYou API and umm… WebSphere Event Server.
Now I suspect IBM PR doesn’t want to talk about this use of the technology given the explanatory techie post on it has been deleted from Andy Piper’s blog. His high level view is still here. But Google Cache did the business. I hope I don’t get anyone into trouble. I even have a diagram:
So this is IBM Business Event technology used for an interesting mashup application. I can’t say strongly enough that IBM should foster and amplify this kind of app, and indeed seek to build community around it.
Enterprise and Web messaging and event management technologies are converging, so IBM should let the hackers hack. You can’t build an Internet of Things without an Internet of Messages. In related news its worth pointing to the fact IBM has just removed one barrier to entry for to its own lightweight messaging protocol MQTT by supporting it natively in WebSphereMQ without requiring the WebSphere Message Broker.
Anyway – next week is IBM Impact, the companies big WebSphere event of the year. I will be able to hook up with Andy Piper and perhaps the folks that built the app. And for a more enterprisey implementation of similar ideas you should try and check out Matthew Perrins talk on how IBM uses OSGi/MQTT and MQ/MB in Smart Planet solutions #1527a
disclosure: IBM is a client and is paying my T&E for Impact.