October 3rd, 2002

More Amazon web services excellence

A while back I pointed out one of the first Amazon web services applications, a set of tools that allowed you to generate and explore similarities between books on a map. However, it was a static application, you couldn't explore the map and find new connections. While finishing up the screenshots for this month's XML column I found that someone's taking the mapping model and gone a whole stage further...

What they've ended up producing is a Java application that takes an initial search term (in books, music or DVDs), generates a similarities map, and then makes it clickable. Click once on the letter 'H' to get a description of the item, click twice on the item bubble to generate similarities for this item. It's all done in a clean, fast, well designed UI. You can scale the display, and drag results around the screen in a dynamic, elastic environment, which gives this completely abstract application a certain physicality.

This is is exactly the sort of thing that web services should be used for at this stage of their development - inspirational tools that show a whole new way of working with existing data sets.

Well worth an exploration. Or three. You can wander around whole geographies of ideas, without leaving your browser.
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