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 API to Database
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API to Database

What's an API? It stands for application programming interface. Which is exactly what I want to bring to JFB.

What does this mean? Let me give an example using an age-old problem and complaint about free forum hosts. Currently, if you want to build an external website for yourself, business, whatever, that runs off the same log-in system as the board, it is not possible. There's no data interface to access the login mechanism. An API is the answer to correct this issue.

APIs don't give anyone direct access to databases because that would still be unsafe - but they can give access to important tools such as the one mentioned above. Board statistics could easily be called up. User profile data can be queried for display somewhere else on your website.

The API could also be re-used within JFB itself to expand upon development of other features. It isn't a feature that's restricted to offsite use.

This is a semi-advanced feature that's geared toward programmers and people who build websites. So please keep that in mind; I'm not talking about any graphical interfaces but rather code-based ones.

With that said, I'd like to hear some serious feedback and questions about what you would want to see in this interface. I'm planning on writing an entire API class that can be easily included into any site, and then options can be called with just some copying and pasting.

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This thread is closed until further notice.

We haven't started on this feature, and this was only intended to collect responses and feedback.

Thanks for all of your responses!

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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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How will you be fetching the information? XML or other?

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"Design is not just what it looks like. Design is how it works." - Steve Jobs
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Probably XML, yes. It makes the most sense from a developer standpoint.

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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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Sweet.

What about auth_keys?

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"Design is not just what it looks like. Design is how it works." - Steve Jobs
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The API will require an authentication key that'll have to be passed for use with each board. Leaving it wide open would be a problem.

As an example... http://forum.jcink.com/api.php?login=1&api...doi32lb1kasdsas

Key would be generated via Admin CP and could be renewed. This is to keep the public's paws off your data.

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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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would this api be so extensive as to allow someone to make an entire front end for the database?

(forms would be easy enough to submit information if you just use the normal channels...)

This post has been edited by laiam: Oct 23 2010, 06:07 PM

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QUOTE (laiam @ Oct 23 2010, 05:06 PM)
would this api be so extensive as to allow someone to make an entire front end for the database?

(forms would be easy enough to submit information if you just use the normal channels...)

Probably not. I'm assuming when you say 'so extensive' and 'database frontend' that you mean that someone could - with API tools alone - build their own seriously working version of the forums on their own server using purely the API.

The list of data that would could make query-able is endless... It depends on what kind of access is eventually allowed, but I'm looking for something in between. Top functionality would definitely be a registration and profile data API. That's like a #1 request all the time.

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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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would this be able to be limited to only certain aspects of the queried data via more params in the url?

such as: /api.php?auth_key=34inf0sdcbn43f&request=LatestTopics&limit=2&date=relative&sort=descending

which would then return the latest topics in a json format like
CODE
{
   "data": [
     {
       "topic":"topic2",
       "author":"Laiam",
       "posted":"Today"
       "url":"http://sitename.b1.jcink.com/index.php?showtopic=15294"
     },
     {
       "topic":"topic1",
       "author":"Laiam",
       "posted":"Yesterday"
       "url":"http://sitename.b1.jcink.com/index.php?showtopic=15293"
     }
   ]
}


Maybe not in that exact format.

of course if you used that format I'll need lessons on how to get it into my javascript same as i would with XML

of course if you could get it to easily output data in either xml or json based on another parameter
&out=json

This post has been edited by SteveJobs: Apr 25 2011, 06:24 PM

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Certainly, that would possible. That api.php example you showed is very close to what I'm thinking of in my head in terms of querying for this stuff.

The format is yet to be determined, though. I said XML earlier but it may be better to JSON.

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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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other thing could the auth_key be left out for querying non-sensitive data such as topics?

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I would kill for this; I maintain both my forums and my external website, and it would be amazing to be able to integrate them both.

Is this actually in the works?
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In the works? yes. any actual progress beyond this topic? no. my hands have been tied up over the last few months dealing with the server crash + then move, plus impending release and development of the attachments system.

so even though this thread was posted in october, nothing has been worked on as of yet, but it's still on the table. we really want to see this move.

unfortunately there hasn't been a lot of feedback but I'm guessing that's because it's sort of a niche feature for developers.

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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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I'll admit a lot of the technical stuff is over my head but with this would it be possible to have a list at the bottom of the forum of the members who are currently in the chatroom?

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QUOTE (Chazz871 @ Apr 25 2011, 07:17 PM)
I'll admit a lot of the technical stuff is over my head but with this would it be possible to have a list at the bottom of the forum of the members who are currently in the chatroom?

No - because the chat server is technically separate from the boards. This interface would only work directly with the boards.

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email: admin@jcink.com :: blog: John C.
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how about a separate api for the chat server then whereby programmers can query it for chatroom user information... of course that would also be back burner and secondary to the board api development.

This post has been edited by SteveJobs: Apr 25 2011, 07:43 PM

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