All posts tagged ‘API’

File Under: APIs

Dropbox API Lets You Add Cloud Storage to Your Apps

dropboxDropbox, the free, web-based file backup service, has rolled out a new API that gives developers a way to access, edit and save any file in a user’s Dropbox account.

The Dropbox API works a bit like an Amazon S3 storage bucket except that you, not the application in question, have control over your uploaded files.

The Dropbox API uses familiar tools like JSON, OAuth and OpenID, so web developers can essentially offload their user’s storage needs to Dropbox. For users, the usual risks of tying your web app to a cloud storage mechanism are mitigated by the fact that Dropbox keeps a local copy on your hard drive.

While the potential for integration with web apps is very cool — imagine if all your Flickr uploads automatically synced to the Dropbox folder on your hard drive for an instant backup — the first place you’ll likely see the Dropbox API in action is on mobile devices.

Storage limitations and, in the case of the iPhone/iPad, Apple’s imposed restrictions, mean that it’s difficult to build mobile apps that can access local files, let alone read, write and sync.

That’s the basic problem the Dropbox API seeks to overcome — using the Dropbox API means there’s no need for local files on your mobile device and everything is automatically synced back to your PC. The only catch is that you need an internet connection for the syncing to work.

Dropbox has already worked with a number of developers to integrate the new API prior to the launch. For example, Air Sharing, GoodReader and QuickOffice can now tap into your Dropbox account to edit and sync your Dropbox files. The new API ships with client libraries in Objective-C (pretty much required for the iPhone/iPad), Python, Ruby and Java. To create an application you’ll need to register with Dropbox and then, once you have access, you can grab the client library of your choice and check out the online documentation.

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File Under: APIs, Location

Get Started With Google Geocoding via HTTP

Google’s mapping API is one of the most-used application interfaces on the web. It’s largely responsible for the recent explosion of map-based mashups. The massive popularity of Google Maps has also given rise to a new word in the web developer’s lexicon — geocodes.

Maps require a latitude and longitude point to plot specific locations. Whenever you’re programming a custom map using Google’s API, you will nee to convert the relevant city name, ZIP code, or address to latitude and longitude points. This process is called geocoding.

Google currently makes the process available via the GClientGeocoder Javascript class. That JavaScript class makes the geocode available immediately to the browser. But sometimes, such on the fly access isn’t enough. We want to store location information for later use. In that case, we need another service to grab the geocodes permanently.

That’s where geocoding via HTTP comes in handy.

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File Under: APIs, Location

Get Started With the Yahoo HTTP Geocoder API

Since the major search engines have opened up their mapping tools to programmers, geocoding has become an essential step in the process of building many a mashup.

Geocoding is the process of converting human-readable place data — a city name, ZIP code, or address — to latitude and longitude points that can be easily plotted on a map.

Yahoo’s HTTP Geocoder API is easy to use, and its output is easy to incorporate into your applications. This article will describe its features and show some examples of how to access the results.


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File Under: APIs

Using the Twitter API

The microblogging site with the funny name is one of the hottest web services around.

Twitter is one of those websites with very little room for functional nuance. Its limit of 140 characters per post forces users to be succinct, something that makes many people feel over-constrained and leads them to view the service as too simple to actually be useful. Others see unbridled freedom inside such a unique limitation and embrace it like a poetic device. The lesson: You either get Twitter or you don’t.

Regardless of how you feel about it, if you’re looking to try out an API for the first time, Twitter is a great place to start.


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File Under: APIs, Location

Get Local Search Results From Yahoo

Online maps are a popular way to spice up a site. To get the most use out of them, you need data to plot: addresses from a database, location clicks from the user or at least coordinates for the map’s center. With any map, you have to start somewhere.

If you’re low on data, you can fill in the map with local listings, such as those you’d find in the Yellow Pages. You can show coffee shops or pizza joints right along your other data, or even on its own.

In this tutorial I’ll show how to use Yahoo Local to search for nearby businesses and landmarks, then plot those locations on a Yahoo Map using the Ajax API.

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