Remember all the WS-* specifications that had garnered significant traction in the last decade among major software vendors? It seems that we might have seen the last of them. The Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) recently announced that they had completed their work. All WS-I’s assets, operation and mission will now transition over to OASIS that will continue to drive open standards, as applicable. WS-I, which was started in 2002 had a clear goal of laying the groundwork for Web Services Interoperability and did so actively by developing profiles, sample apps and tools towards that.
Auction giant eBay is giving its developers another way to access listings. In addition to its current eBay API, it has added support for Microsoft’s “OData,” an Open Data protocol for accessing and querying data provided by an API. Using familiar technologies, OData provides a consistent structure, with the promise of APIs that are more flexible and easier to use.
What does a tool maker do when his tool breaks? He builds a new tool to patch the broken one. At least that is what David Beckemeyer (Mr Blog) did when his tweeting garage door opener was threatened by the approaching OAuthpocalypse. This date with destiny for all Twitter programmers is the planned June 30th cutoff of basic authentication. At that point all Twitter apps must communicate with the API through OAuth authentication instead of the much less complicated user name/password form of HTTP Authentication. There are many good reasons for this change, which have been repeated endlessly on the Twitter developer forum, but in practice it is a lot of added complexity, more complexity than David wanted to build into his little, simple garage door device.
Internet Archive have released a REST API that gives developers access to their historical snapshots of the web. It is based on the Amazon S3 API, and is currently the best way to access the Internet Archive data.
Speculation was rife just a few months ago about the adoption of the Twitter API as a de-facto standard for micro-blogging services. WordPress.com, Tumblr, Typepad, SocialCast, and Status.net all added support for the API, and the only change needed for Twitter clients to interact with these services was the ability to use a specified end point. Accommodating different API endpoints should have involved only a few extra lines of code, but despite this, still very few major Twitter clients offer this functionality. The situation has lead Matt Mullenweg, the founder of Automattic and the lead dev on WordPress, to conclude that “the opportunity has passed for the Twitter API to become a lingua franca for the real-time web”.
The promise of sharing our data from one site with another raises plenty of privacy concerns. While not all of these worries can be solved by technology, one definitely can. You should not have to share your password in order for services to access your content on other sites. That’s where OAuth comes in. It’s “an open protocol to allow secure API authorization in a simple and standard method from desktop and web applications.”
Last week at Where 2.0, Yahoo’s Gary Gale discussed “geosetta”, the concept of a geographic Rosetta Stone, which allows for a unified conversion of geographic namespaces based on different geographic reference identifiers (e.g., Yahoo’s Where on Earth ID, or WOEID). The idea behind geosetta is that developers should be able to easily identify and cross reference a location among multiple service providers despite any disparities that may be inherent in the respective namespaces.
All Twitter APIs will soon use HTTP error code 400 for calls beyond your rate limit. One of Twitter’s most popular services, the Search API, currently uses error code 503. You’ll want to update any of your applications that use Twitter search so that they’re looking for the right code.
With the recent explosion of cloud computing services, developers now have more opportunities than ever to take advantage of enterprise-scale computing platforms. However, most cloud computing services, such as Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), have unique and incompatible APIs. This has provided a challenge for organizations wanting to develop in-house applications that can later be seamlessly deployed directly to Amazon’s service when necessary. For example, Ubuntu Server, a Linux-based operating system supported by Europe’s Canonical Ltd, is the most widely deployed operating system on EC2, yet there has been no way for developers to create private, EC2-compatible cloud computing systems internally with Ubuntu.