Today in APIs: Koninklijke Bibliotheek’s Illustrations API, and 8 New APIs

Greg Bates, January 23rd, 2014

National Library of the NetherlandsThe National Library of the Netherlands releases an API covering data on 11,000 rights-free illustrations. The Apple iOS Controller API: the future of devices? Plus: 8 new APIs.

National Library of the Netherlands’s API Delivers Data on over 11,000 Illustrations

The Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of the Netherlands, has made 11,000 illuminations from Dutch medieval cultural history accessible via an API. Both images and meta data are available from the ByvanckB set that encompasses 400 manuscripts, with descriptions, dimensions, type, who the artist was, subjects illustrated and more. From painted miniatures, to drawings, to historiated initials, the illustrations come in many different forms. All are public domain.

Most of the datasets are available in Dutch only, although some discussion about the API is in English. The library expects to add new datasets over time, such as The memory of the Netherlands and the collection of Historical Newspapers.

Apple’s iOS Controller API: The Future is Just Around the Corner

Apple’s iOS controller API, part of iOS 7, will soon free users of having to own multiple CPUs, making it possible to connect multiple devices and different types of displays all according to what is best for the task at hand.

As Seppo Helava writes in Polygon, users want to be able to switch from one device to the next and have their CPU follow what they are doing:

“Your Halos, and Killzones, GTs and Forzas, all things that don’t work well on a touchscreen. But you don’t have a library of physical games. You don’t even have a console. You’re running the games off the phone in your pocket, but you’re using a familiar controller on an amazing screen with awesome surround sound on your couch.

What I’m asking you to imagine is a future where you only use one computer. Where a screen is just a display, and a controller is just an interface. Instead of a specialized device for everything you want to do, you have one CPU with myriad interfaces. A future where your computer displays to the whatever screen is appropriate for what you’re doing, and you interact with it using whatever interface is best for the job.”

The exciting thing is that this idea of a phone or whatever your main device happens to be automatically switching as you grab for different controllers, and automatically choosing the screen that works best for whatever task you are switching to, isn’t that far off. We just need, “widespread adoption of Airplay mirroring, some tweaks to iOS, and new controller interfaces,” Helava says.

Maybe. We–or at least Apple–needs this dream to fit into a business model. I can imagine it’s not going to be: Apple makes one device and every one else can build whatever they want to connect to it. It’s not only that the plan might bomb on the profit front; Apple has fanatically controlled the user experience through producing top quality innovative interfaces. Even though you can stream to other devices not made by Apple–speakers, screens, etc.–I would predict some continued control over just what you can run off your iPhone, or whatever that central device turns out to be.

API News You Shouldn’t Miss

8 New APIs

Today we had 8 new APIs added to our API directory including a crypto-currency payment service, a nigerian bulk sms service, a weekly crowdfunding platform, a litecoin processing service and a latin american payment platform. Below are more details on each of these new APIs.

DogeCoinDogeCoin API: DogeAPI is an API for the use of the crypto-currency Dogecoin built around the popular doge meme. The DogeCoin API allows users to build payment processing into merchant websites. The API includes calls to get a balance, withdraw funds, get a new address, get a user address, get an address received, get address by label, get difficulty, and get current block. The API uses REST calls and both SSL and an API key for authentication.

Event SMSEvent SMS API: Event SMS is a Nigerian bulks SMS provider. New users get SMS credits with registration so that they can try out the service for free. The Event SMS API allows both developers and resellers to integrate Event SMS’s messaging gateway with their own websites or applications. This API allows users to send SMS and check their account balance using REST calls.

GittipGittip API: Gittip is a weekly crowdfunding “gifting” platform. Users of Gittip can send and received weekly payments to and from other Gittip users.

The Gittip API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality of Gittip with other applications. Some example API methods include returning payment information, retrieving stats, and managing user information.

Liteapi.orgLiteapi.org API: Liteapi.org is a crypto-currency facilitator that provides resources to utilize or incorporate litecoin payment into merchant applications. The Liteapi.org API allows users to receive payments, get exchange rates, access the blockchain, and make other calls. The API also allows users to build apps that utilize litecoin, or add litecoin functionality to existing applications. The API uses REST calls, returns JSON, and uses SSL for authentication.

OpenpayOpenpay API: Openpay is an integrated service solution for Latin America that allows users to accept and send payments online without dealing with banking systems, compliance, fraud, and security.

The Openpay API allows to handle Charges (from cards, banks and stores), Payouts (to debit cards and banks accounts), Transfers between accounts, Customers, Cards, Bank Accounts, Plans, Subscriptions and Fees. The API uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in JSON.

PC MonitorPC Monitor API: PC Monitor provides a system and features to remotely monitor and control IT systems from smartphones and tablets.

The PC Monitor API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality of PC Monitor with other applications. Public documentation is not available; interested developers should sign up here for an API Key (available with account service): https://www.mobilepcmonitor.com/api/requestkey.

TextItTextIt API: TextIt is a service for building SMS applications. It is designed to help people who are not programmers create and modify SMS applications using the visual, interactive Flow engine. Once created, users can launch their applications in any country using their Android phones. TextIt’s REST API allows users to access their Android relayers from outside applications. Specifically, users can handle contacts, create new messages, manage Android phones, manage calls, list active flows, and start flow runs.

Vodacom Bulk SMS MessagingVodacom Bulk SMS Messaging API: Vodacom Messaging provides mobile messaging solutions designed to meet the needs of businesses, developers, and individuals. It can deliver SMS, MMS, and USSD to both South African and International networks. Developers can integrate the ability to send and receive SMS into their own applications using REST, SMPP, or FTP calls.

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One Response to “Today in APIs: Koninklijke Bibliotheek’s Illustrations API, and 8 New APIs”

January 28th, 2014
at 9:59 am
Comment by: Olaf Janssen

Great post about the API of the national library of the Netherlands (KB)! To manage expectations: the KB will soon add the following datasets:
- Dutch Digital Parliamentary Papers
- Watermarks in Incunabula printed in the Low Countries
- Early Dutch Books Online

(see http://kb.nl/en/data-services-apis)

We’ll add our Historic Newspapers dataset in due time, The Memory of the Netherlands is unlikely to be added anywhere soon.

Best regards,

Olaf Janssen

Open Data coordinator
Koninklijke Bibliotheek – National Library of the Netherlands

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