Lately I've been spending some of my personal time in another world, a world called Second Life, to be precise. Second Life is a 3D virtual world. When you log in to Second Life for the first time you choose your "in-world" name and you create your own avatar. Once inside, you can chat, run, walk, fly, and interact with other avatars in a somewhat life-like fashion. There's an internal game currency which freely converts back and forth to US dollars, and it is very easy to buy and to sell items from within the system.
Second Life is relevant to this blog for a couple of reasons:
First, it is a real development platform. Every object in the world can have one or more scripts inside. The scripts are written in a language called LSL, or Linden Scripting Language. The language is reasonably powerful, with multiple data types, event handlers, and a unique state-driven programming model. Best of all, there's a way to call outside web services. llHTTPRequest will call a service and fire off an event when the request completes. Return values are currently limited to 2048 bytes. There's no XML parser, but you can use the XSLT feature of AWS to map the data into something that's compact and easy for you to parse.
Second, developer Mike Buckbee (who calls himself Hal9k Andalso when he is inside of Second Life) has written the first AWS-powered application. It is a search tool, implemented as a Second Life HUD, or Heads-Up Display. You can read more about it in Mike's blog post, Amazon Search Integration. I've asked Mike to consider writing an article about what it took to make AWS calls from LSL.
By the way, feel free to look me up if you are in Second Life. My name is Jeffronius Batra.