WCN API Group Started
Submitted by Joey Manley on December 17, 2006 - 11:47
So I'm thinking I'd like to develop a WCN API, allowing external developers to play in the WCN sandbox. Goals:
1. Inbound publishing hooks, so that developers of third-party content management or content creation systems can allow their users, on the "inbound" side, to publish content directly to WCN (in the same way that many third-party word processing tools can now publish directly to WordPress). I've been studying up on the WordPress API, so I think I can, all by myself, make this happen from within any content authoring tool that can publish to WordPress.
2. Outbound mirroring, so that developers can build their own hooks into their own platforms which look for and accept input from the WCN engine. I didn't explain that well. Basically, when a WCN member posts something onto WCN using our control panel, I'd like for him/her to be able to click some checkboxes and have that content mirrored elsewhere on the web -- whether it's a WordPress blog, a static HTML site, or another webcomics automation system. WordPress and static HTML sites are easily -- I can do that all by myself. I think. Mirroring from/synchronizing a WCN account onto other webcomics automation systems will be hard, and will require the cooperation of people developing webcomics automation systems. I'll probably not want to work with them unless they're willing to also incorporate item (1) into their systems, too, so that my webcomics automation systems and theirs can be used interchangeably to update comics on either site, or both simultaneously. This would also allow for cartoonists to migrate their sites wholesale to other services if they wish (keeping hosting customers because they're "stuck" with you, having spent years building the database that represents their webcomic, is not an honorable way to do business, and does not hold the best interests of the customer in the highest position).
3. Data availability. I'd like for third-party developers to have access to public data from the WCN site, using a simplified set of SQL queries delivered via XML, without having to spider for everything on the whole site, filter out the data from the HTML, build their own copy of the database, and then run SQL queries against it (which is what they have to do now). Data could include: popularity statistics for individual webcomics for a given day or a range of dates; which comics updated on what date; which Swapmeet items in which genres were posted on what date; which (any kind of content) by (any cartoonist) updated (when). And so on. This would be helpful, I think, to services like Piperka, search engines like Google, and may even lead to new webcomics-related applications none of us have ever thought of. What do they call'em? Mash-ups.
Preferably, the API I come up with will be useful and general enough that other webcomics sites and services can use them, or build on them -- or use very similar ones -- in the same way that the Blogger and WordPress API's have been widely copied by other services and software.
The only problem is, I don't know a damn thing about developing useful API's. I do know that the nature of API development is such that any mistake made early on will be deeply embedded in the system, and uncorrectable.
So, yeah, I'm looking for input.
I've started a Yahoo Group for this topic.
If you're a developer with knowledge of XML, REST, and API development, and an interest in building your own tools that take advantage of the WCN platform, won't you join it and help me figure this stuff out?