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Web person at the Imperial War Museum, just completed PhD about digital sustainability in museums (the original motivation for this blog was as my research diary). Posting occasionally, and usually museum tech stuff but prone to stray. I welcome comments if you want to take anything further. These are my opinions and should not be attributed to my employer or anyone else (unless they thought of them too). Twitter: @jottevanger

Monday, June 02, 2008

Made an API

No, not a collections database interface, Mia's onto that one. But I'm scheduled to work on the events database about now, and with the mashup day (now full up, I think) coming it seemed a good idea to grab a day and finish off this job. For ages we've had an RSS feed which gets a lot of use, including consumption by sites like dockland.co.uk, and of course search functionality onto the events web pages, but the feed is (a) a bit basic and (b) just shows everything for the next 14 days.
I wanted to turn the static feed into a properly searchable REST interface, as well as load it with more good data. So I plugged a hole whereby only a start date could be specified, put in filters for audience, event type, and keyword (like the web pages), and neatened up the separation into XML. Now it can be churned out in raw straight-from-the-database XML or in RSS 2.0 with extra hCalendar. I've got a couple of tweaks to make (adding in addresses and geo data) and then will invite the world. The plan is that you can set the format in the query string, so RSS2 will be one option but so will xCal (as used in Upcoming's XML) and whatever else - it'll just pick up a stylesheet and apply it on the fly. There are more filters I could apply, and documentation to do. Then thinking about pagination with OpenSearch extensions... and then who knows. Most of it will wait, so I'll post soon with the details on the where and how.


Frankie Roberto said...

Any update on this?

Jeremy said...

Hi Frankie.

Yeah, see this post and also "Small API update" and "Victorian photographers API...". The mashup day was massively frustrating for me because I'd put together all of these data sources and really hoped to (a) do something useful myself with them and (b) see how I could work with other people to hook this to their stuff, but I had not web access all day and couldn't do a thing. I did, however, learn plenty from watching you and the others being creative.

One of the posts points to a CDWALite(lite!) version of object data available, which I just wanted to play with, because I'm fed up with not having a proper data view onto objects available, and good as the OpenSearch things are that Seb and Jim have provided, they don't provide a unique address for each object. Mike and Dan's toy and my own Gathery need stuff like this to experiment with, too.
Sp, d'you want to hook up some of our stuff together?
Cheers, J