On Jun 30, 2007, at 7:22 AM, Alexander Johannesen wrote:

> ... Seriously, before you do anything, read the book "Restful
> WebServices" by Sam Ruby and Leonard Richardson
> ( ...

Alexander and code4libbers: *THANKS* -- this thread was extremely
helpful to some of my recent thinking and work. It's wonderful when
terrific info flows one's way at just the right time. I have the book
in hand and can't wait to immerse myself in it.

Below is a glimpse into some of my recent questioning that shows why
this is so apt. (I've posted a followup noting the book and crediting
this list.)

Birkin James Diana
Programmer, Integrated Technology Services
Brown University Library
[log in to unmask]

>       From:     [log in to unmask]
>       Subject:        API thinking
>       Date:   June 12, 2007 2:51:20 PM EDT
>       To:       [log in to unmask]
> Folk,
> I've said before I'm a fan of service-oriented-architecture
> thinking -- in the sense of moving blocks of code out to the
> network instead of keeping them within language & server &
> department-specific programs.
> Example: You want to see an item's Josiah status, say, for Zen and
> The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, ISBN 0688002307 -- this'll do
> the trick:
> This is really, really useful (to machines). But the question comes
> up when making APIs -- How should they look? What should the format
> be? How might they 'reveal' acceptable parameters? How might they
> be designed to be extensible? What are guidelines/best-practices
> for these issues?
> I haven't really come across good info answering these issues,
> other than the reminder that although APIs can easily be added-to,
> *existing* data fields should rarely be changed, because once an
> API is put in place, you don't know who's using it for what.
> A possible partial answer might be the Atom Publishing Protocol,
> which bridges the gap between the one-way 'outgoing' disclosure-
> type information of traditional RSS-feeds, and the desired ability
> of an API to receive 'incoming' instructions.
> I recently stumbled across a terrific presentation on this topic.
> The blog-post is:
> Be *sure* to download the linked pdf, which gives a good history of
> RSS, and, around slide 56, gets into how Atom can be used as an API
> for uses far beyond traditional dissemination of info.
> -Birkin
> ---
> Birkin James Diana
> Programmer, Integrated Technology Services
> Brown University Library
> [log in to unmask]