Web 2.0 And APIs
Every self respecting search engine has one, loads of other sites have one, and lots of people are using them to make great new stuff: Application Programming Interfaces or API’s. There’s a big but on some of them though
Wikipedia describes an API as: An application programming interface (API) is the interface that a computer system, library or application provides in order to allow requests for services to be made of it by other computer programs, and/or to allow data to be exchanged between them.
Now these API’s are super useful, I use them in several of my scripts and have great fun with them. I used the Technorati API, for instance, in the first version of the Technorati rank and link count Greasemonkey script I wrote. This was fast, and worked quite well for a while, so I was very happy. After a few hours of browsing though, it stopped working. The error I got was You have used up your daily allotment of Technorati API queries.
Now I can’t understand why they’d want to limit use of the API like that. Why not? Well, now that I have decided to not use the API (after all how much is 500 queries when you distribute this script to 100+ people?), I’m left with no other choice but to scrape the content of their normal site. This costs them way and way more bandwidth, and it’s significantly slower. That’s not much of a service is it? Remember: I do want to use their services! I want to know the Technorati rank for each page I’m visiting, that’s a good sign for them, isn’t it?
Joost de Valk is an SEO from Nijmegen, the Netherlands, who works for Onetomarket, an online marketing company. He has experience as a sales manager for several IT companies, is involved in open source projects like WebKit and Mozilla, and is the creator of the biggest online resource on CSS3. Joost blogs about web design and SEO, and writes all sorts of scripts for webmasters.