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Safari, Web Services, and You

Posted by davidrupp on August 1, 2004 at 2:33 PM PDT

Following in the cyber-footsteps of Amazon.com and Google, the good folks at safari.oreilly.com have published a web services interface to their immensely useful bookshelf product. You don't even have to subscribe to the bookshelf to take part -- just sign up as an "Affiliate", provide some details about your site and how you intend to use the service, and two confirmation e-mails later you'll have a shiny new developer token and a fancy new API to play with.

The API is strictly RESTful (sorry, SOAP fans), so it's fairly easy on the eyes. The site is missing some important documentation as of this writing (e.g., a list of valid "metadata abbreviations" for making specific category queries), but the maintainers seem responsive and eager to please. There is a minimal set of examples to get you started.

The largest problem I can see so far? Not a single example is written in Java! Perl -- yes. PHP -- yes. VBScript -- yes. Java -- no. Sounds like a challenge to me. Who will accept?

The coolest thing about this for me is that I can finally write the app I've been hoping the Safari team would write for me -- a waitlist manager. You see, I try keep my bookshelf chock full, no empty slots. I always have a book I can remove, but I try not to until one comes along that I just have to read now. This app will help me track the books that I don't have to read today, but would like to keep in mind as a potential leisure read later.

What a great time to be a geek!