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The Yahoo! Query Language (YQL): A Deep Dive

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One of Yahoo!’s major goals is to become more open through the Yahoo! Open Strategy (Y!OS). At the heart of Y!OS is an open and extensible platform that allows developers to rapidly access Yahoo! network data and develop applications with access control using an open authentication standard.

Yahoo! makes structured data available to developers through its web services, such as Flickr and Yahoo! Local, and through other sources like RSS feeds or CSV documents. There are also thousands of web services and APIs outside of Yahoo! that provide valuable data. The problem is that all of these disparate web services require developers to locate the correct URLs for accessing the APIs and the documentation for querying them and as a result, the data remains isolated and separated, requiring developers to combine and work on the data after it’s returned to them.

The Yahoo! Query Language platform attacks this problem by providing a mediator service that enables developers to query, filter, and combine data from across the Web. YQL exposes a SQL-like SELECT syntax that is both familiar to developers and expressive enough for getting the right data. Through YQL’s SHOW and DESC commands, Yahoo! attempts to make YQL self-documenting, enabling developers to discover the available data sources and structure without opening another web browser or reading a manual.

In this session, Yahoo! Chief Technologist, Sam Pullara, will provide a deep dive on the capabilities, uses, and best practices for how YQL can be used by developers to dramatically improve data gathering and productivity for developers looking to build highly relevant, data rich web applications.

Photo of Sam Pullara

Sam Pullara


Sam Pullara is vice president and chief technologist at Yahoo!. While at Yahoo!, Pullara has led the Yahoo! Application Platform, played key roles in business and technology strategy, including business development and M&A, and also contributed to a variety of tech technology programs and initiatives, including work on grid computing (e.g. Hadoop), virtualization and large scale reliable data systems.

Before Yahoo!, Pullara founded Gauntlet Systems while an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Accel Venture Partners . Gauntlet was later sold to Borland, where Pullara became Chief Architect, and Gauntlet’s technology was integrated into Borland’s Lifecycle Quality Management products. Before Accel, Pullara was a member of the Technology Advancement Group at BEA Systems, where he worked on all aspects of the WebLogic Server product line. He was an early employee of WebLogic before it was acquired by BEA in 1998.

Pullara is a board member of the OpenSocial Foundation, founded by Yahoo!, Google and MySpace. He also contributes to open source projects and volunteers his time to the Java Community Process through participation in several expert groups. Pullara has a M.S. in Physics from Northwestern University and a B.S. in Physics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).

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