Feeding the Beast: Fostering an API Culture #heweb11

Shark Gullet

image courtesy of nexus 6@flickr

View Session Details and Presenter’s Bio.

I’m going to just start with the takeaways:

Developing relationships is key — with other developers, with IT teams, with content owners.  

It makes doing your job easier.

It takes work … it’s worth it.

  • COMMIT to the openness of your data
  • Create RELATIONSHIPS with other developers on campus
  • ENCOURAGE others to commit to open data

API: Application Programming Interface

An application programming interface (API) is a particular set of rules (‘code’) and specifications that software programs can follow to communicate with each other. It serves as an interface between different software programs and facilitates their interaction, similar to the way the user interface facilitates interaction between humans and computers.

Data Reusability

If you write software that is going to manage data, include interfaces to get that data out.

Fostering the API Culture

ND created a developers group – they meet monthly. It doesn’t matter what languages, frameworks, worlds they work in — they’re all facing the same challenges.  Sometimes the theory behind solution from a different framework can be applied to your own project. By developing these relationships with developers across their campus, it has opened the doors for future collaboration on projects. The group is more aware of what data is AVAILABLE – and they are better able to realize how each units data might be able to be utilized by other departments.

Highlighted Tools

  • mechanize.rubyforge.org – Mechanize is a ruby library that makes automated web interaction easy.
  • nokogiri.org – An HTML, XML, SAX, & Reader parser with the ability to search documents via XPath or CSS3 selectors… and much more.
  • RubyOnRails.org – An open-source web framework that’s optimized for programmer happiness and sustainable productivity.
  • GitHub.com – Social Coding.
  • HTTParty – Makes http fun! Also, makes consuming restful web services dead easy.
  • RDoc.rubyforge.org – Documentation from Ruby Source Files
  • buddypress.org – Social networking in a box.
  • test-unit.rubyforge.org – a xUnit family unit testing framework for Ruby.
  • jQuery – The Write Less, Do More, Javascript Library.
  • Regular Expressions – More powerful than Gandalf, Merlin and Dumbledore combined.

You can download the slidedeck on Git.