Steve Klabnik: Nobody Understands REST or HTTP

Steve Klabnik outlines some best practices in API design in “Nobody Understands REST or HTTP”, some of which I admit I need to follow more consistently. As he states in the end:

Seriously, most of the problems that you’re solving are social, not technical. The web is decades old at this point, most people have considered these kinds of problems in the past. That doesn’t mean that they always have the right answer, but they usually do have an answer, and it’d behoove you to know what it is before you invent something on your own.

Good article with clear to use tips.

A visualization on the growth of public APIs and open data

GOOD: “Out in the Open”

An open data challenge from Anil Dash

Anil Dash: “The Health Graph: Mortal Threats & Signs of Life”:

As a community of developers and technologists, we have to build powerful, indispensable apps and services on top of this data. Killer apps that save lives. If we can make ourselves invaluable, they won’t have the chance to try to cut off our oxygen.

Readings on DSLs (Domain Specific Languages)

Martin Fowler: DomainSpecificLanguage

Martin Fowler: FluentInterfaces

InfoQ: Martin Fowler: Introduction to Domain Specific Languages

The Structure of Structures: Are DSLs simply XML Hell?

Ward Cunningham Wiki: Domain Specific Language The Nature of Lisp

Wikipedia: Domain-specific languages

Maptivism getting easier, happening more

Combine mapping, with participation, and a subject matter that needs attention, and you can create some powerful, useful tools. Google Maps APIs and various mashup techniques made it easy for technologists to build services that pulled together these concepts, but now hosted services like Ushahidi’s CrowdMap and SeeClickFix are opening up the possibilities to more.

NYTimes: “Phone Apps Aim to Fight Harassment”


Observer: “Want to Help Dig Out Some Police Cars? Site Crowdsources Snow Cleanup in NYC”

Snowmageddon Clean-Up: New York “Police and public turn to social media & maps in the Queensland flood crisis”

EveryMap and ABC Qld Flood Crisis Map

Mercury News: “O’Brien: What Haiti tells us about the promise and limitations of digital media”

GigaOm: “How Social Networks and Mobile Tech Helped in Haiti”


CNN: “Ushahidi: How to ‘crowdmap’ a disaster”

O’Reilly Radar: Alex Howard: “The role of the Internet as a platform for collective action grows”


Ushahidi and CrowdMap

SeeClickFix (which just got some nice investment)


Crisis Commons



We Media

Code for America

Joshua Bloch on “How To Design A Good API and Why it Matters”

This is a great Google Tech Talk and while it may be Java-centric, I think much applies to any language you work with.

YouTube: GoogleTechTalks: “How To Design A Good API and Why it Matters”:

This is what I believe is the PDF slideshow from the above presentation.

There is a version of this presentation at InfoQ if you prefer that over YouTube and PDF.

InfoQ: Joshua Bloch: “Bumper-Sticker API Design”

Artima: Joshua Bloch: “Josh Bloch on Design”

Data Journalism and Visualization with an Example

Guardian: Paul Bradshaw: “How to be a data journalist”

ProPublica: Jeff Larson: “The Rainbow Connection: How We Made Our CDO Connections Graphic” (tools mentioned: google-refine (formerly Gridworks), Raphaël, JSON)

Interested in data and visualizations?

Check out the Guardian’s Datablog, and while you are at it, read/watch the Guardian’s Simon Rogers interview with Jonathan Stray of Nieman Journalism Labs on the rise of data journalism and the tools they use.

Want to know what people want?

Well this doesn’t get you exactly there, but László Kozma has a Perl script and some analysis that points you to the top sentences on the Web that start with “How can I” using Google. Fascinating stuff.

A working Python library for Google Reader unofficial API

The linked library handles authentication and offers working methods for a few of Google Reader’s methods: libgreader. Looks like a great start.