All posts tagged ‘APIs’

File Under: APIs, Fonts

Typekit Gets an API

Font startup Typekit introduced an API Thursday that lets web programmers generate kits from the Typekit library behind the scenes.

The company has previously only offered the option of picking fonts and generating kits using the web-based tool on its site. But by releasing an API, it’s giving people the option of building Typekit into their own apps or simply extending the way they use the service.

Writing on the Typekit blog, Paul Hammond says: “The Typekit API gives you the ability to programmatically create, modify and publish kits. It also allows them to fetch metadata about all the fonts in the Typekit library.”

Here are the documentation pages. As you can see, the Typekit API returns data in a few different flavors (JSON, XML and YAML)

There’s an example page set up on Github, and while there isn’t much there yet (just a kit generator for Ruby) we can expect more soon.

If you haven’t yet explored Typekit’s service for including fancy fonts in your site designs, you should. Especially handy is the WebFont Loader, an open source library of scripts that Typekit developed to help eliminate the “flash of unstyled text” that happens when a page loads. The WebFont Loader offers a number of JavaScript events which allow developers more control over when and how their fonts are loaded onto the page.

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File Under: Events, Identity, Social

Twitter Switches on @Anywhere

This is an @anywhere hovercard

This is an @anywhere hovercard

SAN FRANCISCO, California — Twitter’s @anywhere features are now live for developers to start using, the company has announced.

Developers can begin using the system to integrate different kinds of Twitter engagement directly into their sites or apps. You can find details about it at the new Twitter developer site (which also launched Wednesday) at dev.twitter.com.

@Anywhere basically provides a way to let Twitter users follow other people and send tweets directly from within your web page or app.

The key component is the “hovercard” — you’ve seen them on the Twitter website for the last month or so. Any time you see somebody’s Twitter handle mentioned, you can hover over that person’s handle and a little window pops up showing their profile photo, location, short bio, number of followers, and — the key part — a “Follow” button you can click and add them to your follow list right there, without leaving the page.

The announcement was made by Twitter’s head of platform Ryan Sarver at Chirp, the company’s developer conference happening here.

You can start dropping hovercards onto your site using “a few lines of JavaScript” (outlined on the documentation page at Twitter’s development site).

It’s interesting to see so much excitement around hovercards, which have a lot in common with hCards, the microformat standard for publishing and sharing contact information on the web. Microformats have been around for a while but they haven’t really been widely adopted, and it will be interesting to see if rebooting the idea on top of the Twitter platform — a social layer that makes them more accessible and relevant– will give new life to the concept.

The other components of @anywhere are the “Connect with Twitter” (a remote sign-in system) and the Tweetbox, which you can embed in your page and let people send tweets directly from the page.

Sarver brought out some media partners to talk about how they’re deploying @anywhere features. There were some impressive presentations from The New York Times, Yahoo and MSNBC News. If you’re reading a story on one of their websites, you can see a hovercard when you hover over a journalist’s name and start following them immediately.

One other announcement from Sarver: Twitter is turning on an as-yet-undocumented feature called Annotations this week. It allows developers to add any kinds of metadata they want to tweets. The obvious one is content-specific tags, but we should see other implementations of Annotations when developers start playing with them at the Chirp Hack Day taking place tonight and Thursday.

File Under: Events, Location

Twitter Launches ‘Points of Interest’ Pages for Locations

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SAN FRANCISCO, California — Twitter is adding location-based place pages to its website, the company has announced.

The new feature is called Points of Interest. Starting soon, users will be able to click on a place name (or a location tag, if one exists) in a tweet and see that place on a map. Next to the map, they’ll also be able to see what people are saying about that place in a search results view. From what we’ve seen, it’s a convenient entry point into the current Twitter chatter about a certain place or city.

There will be an API for developers, which we’ll learn more about later today. The API will let developers build this feature into client apps, so it will be accessible from more places than just the Twitter website soon enough.

The announcement was made by Twitter CEO Evan Williams at the company’s Chirp developer conference taking place here Wednesday.

There are several hundred developers here at Chirp, and the announcement drew a round of applause from the audience.

“I think it’s a big step forward for the Twitter platform,” says Andy Gadiel, founder and president of JamBase, a social website for finding live music shows and events in cities worldwide. “Location is all about relevancy. Not just where you are in terms of a latitude and longitude point, but a real place in the world.”

We’ve seen huge growth around location-based services lately, especially on mobiles, where it’s become central to the user experience of almost every search-based or social app. Late last year, Twitter added the ability for users to add location to tweets, something that made tweets more relevant for search applications. The location tags are basically geotags indicating latitude and longitude, or latlongs. Also, Facebook recently added location-sharing for its users’ status updates as well.

Just after the announcement, Williams fielded a question from the audience: Will Twitter have a check-in behavior around Points of Interest, a la Foursquare?

His response:

“We’re not looking to duplicate the functionality of Foursquare or Gowalla. We want to make those services work better with Twitter. If you’re writing a tweet about a place and you type the name of that place, that’s sort of a check-in. But what we’re really interested in is what you’re saying about that place.”

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File Under: APIs, Location

Using the Google Maps API

Google Maps is perhaps the biggest and most useful of all the common web APIs. Who doesn’t love clicking and dragging those sleek, clean maps? But it’s also one of the more complex APIs, which can be intimidating for newcomers. It’s also somewhat difficult to immediately recognize all the possibilities of the Google Maps API since there are literally hundreds of ways to use it.

We’re going to dive right in. But to keep things simple, we’ll start with a very common use: Adding a map to your site and displaying some markers.


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File Under: APIs, Web Apps

Discover Cool Photo Apps With Flickr’s New ‘App Garden’

Everyone has an app store these days. But of course, for Flickr, the photo sharing site that brought you rainbow vomiting Panda Bears, “store” is far too pedestrian. Which is why Flickr has launched a new App Garden.

The new Flickr App Garden consists of mobile, desktop, and online widgets that interact with Flickr and help you get more out of the site. Flickr already had an extensive list of such apps in its “Services” area, but the new App Garden is considerably simpler and makes find cool Flickr apps much easier.

Unlike the former app directory, which was a simple list, Flickr’s App Garden gives each app its own page where users can leave comments, tag apps and mark them as favorites. The ability to favorite an app means users now have a way to promote their favorites in the App Garden showcase. The app pages also look and feel just like a Flickr photo pages, which makes App Garden feel more like a part of Flickr than the old services directory ever did.

To make it even easier to discover cool apps, Flickr has also included tags on user’s photos which tell you what app the image was uploaded with, and then link back to that app in the new App Garden. If you don’t want others to know how you upload your photos, you can turn off the new tags in your account settings.

The result is that you can stumble across some very cool stuff like Suggestify, an app that allows you to geotag other people’s photos by suggesting a location to the photo’s owner. Following the tag “geotag” then led us to an interesting iPhone app, FlickrUp, which lets you geotag photos uploaded from the iPhone.

So far there’s no way for developers to charge for applications through the Flickr App Garden, though there are some non-free apps listed. Since actually download the apps you want — whether free or not — requires at trip to the developer’s own page, it seems that, at least for now, the App Garden is more a place to browse, not buy apps.

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