Joost, the peer-to-peer broadband video-on-demand network, now provides an application programming interface to allow third-party developers to provide their own widgets to extend the platform. Such additions could be the making of Joost.

Still available as a beta trial service, Joost already comes with a number of built-in widgets but these currently feel like placeholders. By opening up the interface, Joost may benefit from the efforts of third-party developers.

Based on standard web technologies, widgets are independently developed software components that run in the Joost client. They may be stand-alone, or depend upon externally provided sites and services. Data can be stored locally or on the web, and widgets can be given access to information about the current program being viewed.

Details of the widget interface are available through a new developer site. Joost promises that there are no development toolkits to download, or complex interfaces to lean. If you can make a web site, you can make a Joost widget. It simply requires an understanding of XML, CSS, SVG and Javascript. Further developer documentation will apparently be made available over the coming weeks and months.

A sample ‘what’s similar’ widget offers recommendations related to the video a viewer is watching. A ‘Joostmarks’ widget enables users to bookmark video clips.

Joost links can be provided to a channel or an individual video clip, based on a seven character unique identifier. Using such references will online platforms such as Joost to benefit from the unique characteristics that have enabled the phenomenal growth of the web.

By exposing a linking mechanism, Joost may address what many have seen as a limited user interface and could surpass other broadband video services that do not provide such interfaces.

Through the use of widgets and other extensions, Joost has the opportunity to become more social, building on the powerful network effects that have supported the growth of many online communities.