July 17, 2009

Creating websites with builtin APIs

Whether or not its RESTian kosher I don't know, but the live Apollo 11 transcript is built natively around a JSON API. If you don't like mine - feel free to make your own.

Details: The API is at


- note the jsonp parameter, which lets you call the api from JQuery and similar libraries without cross site worries. Don't need JSONP. Don't know what it is? just use


instead. If your javascript api needs the parameter, the doc will explain how to use it.
The output is quite simple: There's a 'now' parameter indicating server time (seconds since unix epoch), time of liftoff in same terms and notes from the log. The item 'current' is the latest transcript item before now. The item 'future' a list of the next events to occur.
The format of the events is an array with four elements: time, an id for the speaker, the actual text and a text representation of the time - relative to 'now'
If you build something using this script, please be conservative in how frequently you call the API - the future item gives you an idea of when it makes sense to call.

If something is unclear just view source on http://classy.dk/moon - which explains in source how to use it with JQuery, and gives tables describing the IDs of speakers.

This way of building websites: Presentation with HTML+CSS+JQuery and a pure API backend really appeals to me. Clearly there are fallback concerns for non-modern browsers etc. etc. but the separation of concerns is appealing - as is the instant availability of an API for other's to use.

Posted by Claus at July 17, 2009 3:05 PM
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