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You have to know everything to understand anything

Posted by joconner on August 15, 2005 at 1:39 AM PDT

I'm not really an early adopter...so I'm just discovering blog clients. I'm disappointed that after showing up so late to the party, I still can't comprehend the APIs. I thought they would have had time to fully bake by now, and that the specs would have lots of examples. Turns out this is just wishful thinking.

I did a google search for blog client api. I found that the Blogger API and the Metaweblog APIs seem to be the most used APIs. Taking a look at the links, I found terse "API" pages that don't help me at all. What am I missing? I can't believe these pages are really spec pages.

OK...after a little more research, I get it. Obviously I'm missing an important piece of the puzzle, something called XML-RPC. I suppose if I understand XML-RPC, the specs for Blogger API and Metaweblog API will become clearer. Ever hopeful, I'll give it a try.

Trying to read these specs, trying to untangle the web of APIs, I'm reminded of something I discovered long ago...that most API specs seem to be written for people who don't really need them. The targeted audience already knows the subject matter and apparently needs only cryptic notes to occasionally remind them how to proceed. Newbies reading a typical API spec can't use them because they're always missing something...all the background details that give the API context and meaning.

Programmer's Guide! That's it, I need a Programmer's Guide to the Blogger API. Something that shows me how to use the API, then a User's Guide. That's it! Once I read all that, I'll be able to read the spec...and understand it. Yep, just like I always suspected. In order to understand anything, you have to already know everything.

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