Think signing petitions is useless? There’s probably an app for that. But Change.org proves the cynics wrong–every day. And now there’s a Change.org API to rattle the powerful even further. The API is in beta, is free, and uses REST with JSON returned. The API covers a multitude of requests from creating petitions to checking signatures, from looking at the case for a petition to updating them.
With over 800 social APIs, there are more options than ever to integrate services into our lives. As developers, we see the best–and often the worst–of this social data crunching.
A mobile app using the Google Analytics API ran into a really good problem to have. It got popular. The Analytiks app had enough users that it was frequently going beyond the 50K requests per day allotted to each developer. Each users has to authenticate, but then all share a single pool of requests. By contrast, the Twitter API’s per-user limit makes more sense.
The Cliflo API from New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) gives access to data from 6,500 climate stations maintained by the government of New Zealand. The API webpage notes that access is by subscription, though the cost is free, suggesting that only registration and agreement with the terms and conditions are required. Access to data gathered by Pacific Island stations is restricted by agreement with Pacific Island countries. However it is possible to obtain access by permission.
The Salsa Commons API is a REST and XML API that, as Salsa explains,
“At it’s simplest, using the Salsa API may consist of just a form placed on an external website … At it’s most complex, you could use a Ruby library to authenticate, pull down information on recent supporters and events, validate that data, change it, and submit it back to the node, while generating and displaying counts of petition signers — all through the API.”
You might know the term Minimum Viable Product, or MVP, popularized by Eric Ries. Hardly ever does someone define a Maximum Viable Product, or MaVP. Products are not complete when there is no feature left to added. Products are complete when there is no feature left to be removed (inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupery). An API can help you shape your MaVP.
If the age-old proverb about not judging a book by its cover is true, should you also not judge an e-book by its e-reader, whether it’s a Kindle, Nook, iDevice, or something else? If Texas-based BookShout has anything to say about it, you’ll one day be able to use their platform to read any e-book content on any device, regardless of where you bought it. But the technology is still immature, and Amazon and other e-book retailers may continue to make things difficult for such content aggregators.
When a federal judge declared in June that software APIs aren’t covered by copyright law, it was a major victory not just for Google against Oracle, but for the API developers and users alike.
For the last six years there has been a Craigslist API, but it’s not the one developers have been clamoring to get their HTTP requests on. It’s still likely an important part of the company’s business model, because it allows bulk posting to its real estate section, the site’s main source of revenue. Yeah, but what about that readable API everyone wants?
The curious popularity of the Google Weather API appears to be coming to a close. The search giant never officially supported the feature, but developers have used the unofficial feed available from the iGoogle homepage. With iGoogle now set for deprecation in November, developers are reporting that the once simple weather API is no longer returning data.