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A web API to aid open development

I've searched the forums for this and it doesn't seem to have had anby serious discussion.

I think this site really needs an open web API to help the community thrive otherwise I think it'll die off eventually.

The 2 current phone apps (iOS and Android) have very low ratings and fail to work. If BC were to create an API for 3rd party developers to interact with the site similar to other sites like Goodreads and geocaching.com I think it will benefit us all.

It will generate a thriving community of developers creating numerous 3rd party phone apps, browser extensions, PC apps, web services, etc and extend the ecosystem for the better of the users AND the site founders! Bringing in people that wouldn't normally find the site or service. Making it easier to use the service.

This article on ZDNet makes the case succinctly: http://www.zdnet.com/---/opening-up-apis-brings-in-benefits

"When companies release their application programming interface (API) to third-party developers, they are also opening themselves up to benefits of revenue generation, user traffic and innovation, especially with the growing adoption of mobile devices among consumers today."

Thoughts? Feelings?

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I've searched the forums for this and it doesn't seem to have had anby serious discussion.

I think this site really needs an open web API to help the community thrive otherwise I think it'll die off eventually.

The 2 current phone apps (iOS and Android) have very low ratings and fail to work. If BC were to create an API for 3rd party developers to interact with the site similar to other sites like Goodreads and geocaching.com I think it will benefit us all.

It will generate a thriving community of developers creating numerous 3rd party phone apps, browser extensions, PC apps, web services, etc and extend the ecosystem for the better of the users AND the site founders! Bringing in people that wouldn't normally find the site or service. Making it easier to use the service.

This article on ZDNet makes the case succinctly: http://www.zdnet.com/---/opening-up-apis-brings-in-benefits/

"When companies release their application programming interface (API) to third-party developers, they are also opening themselves up to benefits of revenue generation, user traffic and innovation, especially with the growing adoption of mobile devices among consumers today."

Thoughts? Feelings?
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I don't know what an API is or whether we need one, but...
The 2 current phone apps (iOS and Android) have very low ratings and fail to work.
That's because they aren't official, so they are not ours. Unfortunately, there aren't any real BookCrossing apps.
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An official web API would open the site to more professional quality developers with a greater breadth of expertise and experience.

And if you think no one would want to do something like that for free I can safely say: I personally would LOVE to make a Chrome extension for BC and when I'm a better Android deve then maybe an app - both open source.

I've done open source Chrome and Opera extensions in the past simply for the love of coding and the service they used (TheyWorkForYou.com). I'm just 1 dev and not a great one. Imagine the possibilities if an API was available to all? I don't think non-programmers truly appreciate how much of the web is built on API's these days. Its a crying shame BC hasn't got one.
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I don't think non-programmers truly appreciate how much of the web is built on API's these days.
Nope, we truly don't. I'm not completely web-coding illiterate, but I'm a girl of html before it got any numbers or letters attached to it, and of a tiny bit of css. API's are a mystery to me. I tried reading up on them, and got lost in the first two paragraphs.

The thing is, it sounds (to me) like implementing APIs would mean a complete overhaul of the BC website, and if that's the case, there most likely isn't enough manpower & money to do this. Support and site maintenance is, to my knowledge, for the most part done by volunteers. And overhauling a website is a BIG job.
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I'm a developer and I would like it very much. I could try developing the app during my free time...
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it's a totally great idea!!

I don't think implementing APIs will involve an overhaul of the BC website, but rather just allowing app developers to create apps that can integrate better with the original BC site. As it's not likely that BC itself has the resource to do so, making avail the resource to talented BCers with the skill is a win-win.
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just allowing app developers to create apps that can integrate better with the original BC site.

But wouldn't they then need to have access to the source? That doesn't sound like something you can just simply and safely give people.
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just allowing app developers to create apps that can integrate better with the original BC site.

But wouldn't they then need to have access to the source? That doesn't sound like something you can just simply and safely give people.

I guess it is the way the Amazon links work when registering a book.
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I do not understand the technical aspects. But first of all we are creating a database of books and in future it will not only base "bookcrossing", but also a catalog of paper books in the world.
And an open interface allows to create all sorts of applications. And developers would be encouraged to develop additional services.

13.000.000 books - https://en.wikipedia.org/---/List_of_largest_libraries

I think. Now we have:
database+data processing system (website bookcrossing.com)
but we can use + another data processing system (for example wwlibrary. com)
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but we can use + another data processing system (for example wwlibrary.com)


That's a bad link.
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)) no,
this domain is free
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)) no,
this domain is free


?? Free or not, the link in your previous message goes to a "Server not found" page.
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Free or not, the link in your previous message goes to a "Server not found" page.

That's because the domain is free, as in unused.
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Ok, i've change my message.
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An API (it's an interface) is a computer service that companies can publish the specifications for so that others can get to the underlying data, but only the data the company wants to publish.

For instance, you can use Twitter via their website OR you can use a third party application that asks twitter for the data it publishes, then the application uses that data to show you tweets, users, etc. It can also, with your and Twitter's permission, send tweets, update your profile, etc.

So BC could publish these APIs and developers could build apps that might logically look like this:

App: Using this BCID, tell BookCrossing that I (a user) found this book.
BC: I have recorded that you registered your capture.

App: This user is releasing this book.
BC: I have recorded that user has released this book.

And so on...

APIs mean that organizations who want to build a great website don't also have to build a great app. They just build a service and let others, who know a lot about apps, build the apps. The original website doesn't have to change at all. The services (APIs) are built separately.

Websites can also charge for the data, so that they can afford to supply the data and provide the services that share and update it. That's what Twitter does. Some comes from free, but other data comes at a cost. It's a win-win.
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I would love an API!

And karenst, thank you for explaining so well what it is, couldn't have done it better.
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I think this site really needs an open web API to help the community thrive otherwise I think it'll die off eventually.


Sorry, this just made me kind of chuckle and think of a conversation I had recently with one of the founding team of Instagram. He was amazed that BookCrossing was still around, because it was "so *old*. My dad and I did that back when I was a kid" in 2002 or so.

Given the longevity of websites, particularly that this one is primarily volunteer maintained and with a practically nonexistent budget, BookCrossing is tenacious!
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API

in Russia we
- started to develop a system of street libraries http://littlelibrary.ru
- think over the development of the system BookPost http://bookcrossingpost.ru/
and the connection to the database would be useful for all
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+1

I love this idea. I'd love to be able to get notifications on my phone, enter BCIDs and leave journal entries, etc.

Imagine being able to wild-release using the location thingy on your phone, and people could go hunting using the map like with geocaching! So exciting. This whole idea would really open BookCrossing up to some modernisation and a whole new audience.
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RE: +1

MIght also help with retention. I tried to do a release yesterday and couldn't put on the site, so it took any satisfaction out of it. The books probably disappeared into a Dumpster overnight when housekeeping went through.
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I don't think whether or not you made a release note would effect whether the book got tossed by housekeeping, would it.
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I don't think whether or not you made a release note would effect whether the book got tossed by housekeeping, would it.


It might if someone knew the book was there and wanted it.
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I tried to do a release yesterday and couldn't put on the site, so it took any satisfaction out of it.


It can be frustrating - but you could make a journal entry in lieu of a release note, just to indicate the release time/place; then, if nobody's caught the book by the time you get back to a laptop/desktop, you could make regular release notes. (Since I don't have a phone that's very good with web pages, I generally either make release notes in advance - when I'm sure where and when I will leave a book - or when I get home, sometimes several hours after the releases. This usually works fine, and on the few occasions when I've had books found before I could make release notes it's easy enough to edit my own previous JEs with the release info and photo.)

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