Tag Archives: api

What the Twitter API Needs…

Do you know what the Twitter API is missing? A way to sync the last status you read.

I use a Twitter client on my laptop (Tweetie), and I use another (Twitterific) on my iPod Touch. And sometimes I might use either Twitter.com or Twhirl when I’m on another computer. Every time I move between devices, I lose my place in the stream of incoming tweets. Any good Twitter client remembers the last tweet you read. The only problem is that little bit of information (simply the numerical ID of a tweet) is locked down to one device.

I propose that Twitter add a new API method that accepts the ID of a single tweet, and stores it. Then any Twitter client could request that information and use it to display the tweets from where you last left off.

Something along the lines of statuses/last_read and statuses/mark_read perhaps?

It’s a little thing that bothers me, and something I’d love to see added to the API.

Google Analytics API Launched

Google has launched an API for Google Analytics. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s a fairly large XML API (with OAuth and basic HTTP authentication support) that allows you to programmatically gain read-only access to virtually any data that the main Google Analytics site can display.

The API will allow developers to extend Google Analytics in new and creative ways that benefit developers, organizations and end users. Large organizations and agencies now have a standardized platform for integrating Analytics data with their own business data. Developers can integrate Google Analytics into their existing products and create standalone applications that they sell. Users could see snapshots of their Analytics data in developer created dashboards and gadgets.

It looks a bit technical, and I haven’t had a lot of time to look at it yet, but you can read all of the documentation over at the Google Code page. There are no hard API limits, like with the Twitter API, but Google reserves the right to block requests if they are excessive, as is typical.

Hopefully we will be seeing some new desktop/iPhone/etc applications for keeping up with our statistics.

Post to Twitter From a PHP Script

If you’ve used Twitter for long, you’re probably aware of their impressive API. Nearly any day-to-day task that you can perform on Twitter.com can be done programmatically via the API. (This enables us to have useful applications like Twhirl.)

Now, suppose you would like to enhance a website with some sort of automatic Twitter alerts. A blog automatically tweeting new posts is one obvious example.

The Twitter API Wiki contains all the documentation for the API. It’s best to read up on how it all works before you get started with too much API work. If you head over to the REST API page, the part we’re mainly interested is the statuses/update function. To make use of it, we need to send an HTTP POST request to http://twitter.com/statuses/update.format. The format part would be replaced with either xml or json, depending on the format we want the response to be in. Let’s go with XML.

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Yahoo Monetizes Yahoo BOSS

Yahoo is currently readying the next major update to it’s BOSS Search API. With it they will bring access to SearchMonkey data, optional longer abstracts, and greater flexibility for monetization. They will also be tracking API usage, and charging nominally for monthly usage greater than 10,000 queries.

Since launch, the BOSS API has been provided entirely for free. Now Yahoo is putting in place a freemium model where it’ll be free only for developers who generate fewer than 10,000 queries per day. After that, a tiered pricing model will kick in that charges for BOSS as if it were a utility (think AWS). Rates will vary depending on the type of query (web result vs. spelling correction, for example), how many results the developer wants returned per query (with a new maximum of 1000 results), and just how far the developer goes over the free queries cap. (Source: TechCrunch)

It seems reasonable, and Yahoo certainly is improving upon the service. Ten thousand queries for month is a pretty fair ceiling in my opinion. It’s plenty for experimentation or development, or even a web app of reasonably small size.

If Yahoo can leverage BOSS to save themselves from possible bankruptcy, and still have a unique and powerful service, that’s definitely fine by me.

Now pay attention Google: You dumped your API back in 2006, and it’s going to come back to haunt you unless you follow Yahoo’s lead. After a long draught, Yahoo’s getting their game back on, and they’re out to with the developers over with all of their tools.

The BOSS Mashable Challenge

A couple months ago, Yahoo released a promising new search API called Yahoo Search BOSS. It allows you to query results from Yahoo’s servers and display them how you want, reordering them even. No hard query limis are in place either. It’s pretty awesome.

Well, if you’ve got some l33t coding skills, Yahoo has a challenge for you. Mashable and Yahoo are partnering to bring you the BOSS Mashable Challenge. You have until September 28 to build an amazing search mashup using the BOSS API.

The BOSS Mashable Challenge pits developer against developer to compete for the grand prize of $2,000 and an article on Mashable about your winning entry. How do you win? Build a kickass mashup – search engine or any other Web app – using the BOSS API and any other data sources/technologies.

The public will vote on the submissions to see who gets the grand prize and who the runner up is.

Sounds like a lot of fun, and I bet we’ll see some cool web apps come out of this.


Yahoo BOSSYahoo recently released a new search API. Known as Yahoo BOSS, for “Build your Own Searcg Service,” the API allows you to query search results from their servers, format them however you want, mash the data up with other services, and even re-order results. You get “Unlimited*” queries (they just reserve “the right to limit unintended usage, such as automated querying by bots”) and they don’t even require attribution.

Even though I’m what you could possibly call a “Google/Apple fanboy” (though you would be advised to not say such things…), and I’ve long dismissed Yahoo as boring, geared towards web newbies, among other things, I have to admit, this is a great API. Google never gave us anything like this (despite their seemingly unlimited resources) and they discontinued their fairly limited search API. (As a side note, I also admit that Yahoo owns some great web services, such as Flickr and Del.icio.us.)

I’ve already got to work playing with the API, creating a sort of search mashup. I figured I’d share a little bit of code, and show you how to create a basic SERP. Be warned, the following requires PHP5 and some cURL black magic. (If you have no idea what I just said, read a book, and come back later.)

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