I was fortunate enough to be asked by Mashery to speak at BAPI New York and BAPI San Francisco this year. I gave a quick presentation on the reasons why we need to endeavor to understand the impact our API has on our business. Check out the presentation I gave in San Francisco:
Reserve America, which is part of The Active Network, contains campground data for 97% of the US and Canada's national and state/provincial parks. Today we are releasing the Active.com Camping API, backed by Reserve America's database, so that developers can tap into this rich information source. The API can be used to find all campgrounds in California that allow RVs, pets, have a golf course and are available on 15 September, 2010 for 8 days. Or it can be used to find campgrounds in Colorado that reside along rivers or lakes. Or it can be used to get a rich description of a campground including driving directions, recommendations and ammenities (these descriptions are often authored by park rangers).
I wrote last month that I would be speaking at the Business of APIs Conference on 16 November. It was an awesome venue, and Mashery really put on a good show. If you're interested in re-living my speech, check it out below:
Our last release was a big one for Active.com. We pushed out some long-awaited improvements to the site – some designed to make people happy, others search engines.
The inclusion of course routes on our event details pages has been a fixture on our roadmap for some time. Developing the functionality was never the issue. (The ActiveTrainer team has a fine route plotting mash-up in their arsenal.) Our challenge was attaining a critical mass of route data.
That’s where MapMyFitness came in. One of the earliest organizations to build a viable business out of a mash-up, MapMyFitness (makers of MapMyRun.com, MapMyRide.com and others) had a huge head start in both data and mind share. So we figured, why fight it. We’re great at event aggregation. They’re great at social route sharing.
After a call or two with Kevin Callahan and the MapMyFitness team, we were off and running. (Pun only partially intended.) And here we are, just few development cycles later; and we have MapMyFitness routes fully integrated with Active.com events.
2) MapMyFitness read our events and matched their routes by an algorithm they developed. (A route needs a confidence score over 70 to earn a relation.)
3) We added functionality that allows event directors and organizers with appropriate credentials to log in and select, edit or create their official course route and apply their seal of approval.
4) MapMyFitness developed a nice, light application that makes Event Director authorization of routes a breeze.
5) We finished up by integrating the related routes into our event pages.
What we’re all really excited about is the fact that endurance athletes now have a resource for official course routes. Event Directors and Organizers use our software every day. And we’ve made it ridiculously simple for them to publish their official routes to the largest audience of endurance enthusiasts anywhere.
With search engine-friendly URLs a commodity feature in even the most basic open source CMS, it’s easy to take them as given. But when you’re working with a variety of legacy in-house systems that are vital to business operations, introducing SE-friendly URLs isn’t as easy as it might sound.
Along with clean URLs, we release a comprehensive Directory of all our current events. The Directory is primarily designed for search engine consumption. But we’re finding people are also taking to it; which is a welcomed side effect of the ultra-lean interface.
I want to thank our developers, designers, QA and IT teams for all the great work that went into this release.
We’re looking forward to watching how our audience takes to the improvements – people and robots, alike.
I'm happy to announce that I'll be speaking at the Business of APIs Conference in New York City on Monday, 16 November, 2009. We've been steadily investing in our public API over the past few months with the Search API being the most recent addition to our portfolio. I'm going to be telling the "Active Story", starting from the origins of our company and how we grew through acquisitions. The prime directive of active.com was to become the world's most comprehensive directory for things to do, and in order to accomplish this we needed to ingest data produced by the products we'd acquired in order to make them discoverable on the site. An internal initiative, then, drove us to consider interoperable APIs as a means to facilitate integration between systems we owned, and at that APIs that could be accessed across data centers. As a by product of this initiative we found that external developers were interested in our data, hence the birth of developer.active.com.
I'm happy to announce that we've opened the API that powers http://searchbeta.active.com, the solution scheduled to become the new Search engine behind active.com in the coming months. By opening the API we're hoping developers will think of interesting ways to use and mashup our data. The API provides programmatic access into our core directory of assets, including:
While this data was already available before through the Asset Syndication API, it is now possible to conduct relevancy-based searches based on keywords. Plus, the new Search API is fast and allows for a variety of output formats including:
Rankings data is available through an open API, and we partnered early on with ESPN Rise to feature football rankings on their site. Check out the bottom right-hand corner of http://espn.go.com/high-school-sports/rise/football/ where they build a widget consuming the Rankings API. The API is now available for all developers to leverage in their applications or websites.
Determine the geographic context for ranking data by querying the Playoff Group, Playoff Subgroups or Sportspower School Size Classification API for the relevant group ID (i.e. "60" for all very large highschools in the United States).
Use the geographic context (group ID) to get a list of rankings for a given sport.
During the initial rollout, only highschool football (api.sportspower.com/football/) and basketball (api.sportspower.com/basketball/) is supported with lacrosse data from laxpower.com soon to follow.
Demand Media's LIVESTRONG.com, a “practical resource to find a wealth of health-related information from a wide range of sources”, taps into the Active.com directory of community events to add to the relevance and usefulness of its business listings. For example, the site includes an Active-powered list of nearby events to each of the pages in its Restaurant section:
ESPN Rise uses the SportsPower API Service to better fulfill its goal of offering “all the latest high school sports information, including scores, stats, rankings, polls and athlete profiles”. The site features the top ranked high school football teams across five classifications according to the Active Power Ratings. New ratings and rankings are unveiled every week throughout the season, and are generated at the national, state and local level.
After much anticipation I'm happy to announce the launch of our Event (Asset*) Syndication API. This is a simple XML/HTTP API that returns a list of events matching specified filters as per API documentation. A subset of our events can be queried through this service. These are (note the api_key below is a demo key, so use it at your own risk):
*Note the word "Asset" appears in the title of this API as we have more than just event in our database, so generically we call these things assets.