Friday, 28 November 2008 API first cut is up and running

What a nice way to end the week: A very first edition API is up and running on one of the internet-facing R&D servers. It supports the core functionality of grocery shopping:
  • logging-in,
  • searching for products (text search and using the dept-aisle-shelf hierarchy)
  • adding products to/removing from basket
  • showing all the products and quantities in the basket.
I've forwarded the API connection details to some colleagues who, like me, are going to geek-out this weekend rustling up some test applications to try it out!

Since it's built on Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) it will be hopefully a simple case of extending the API to support the simpler Representational State Transfer (REST) interfaces as well as today's weightier Simple Object Application Protocol (SOAP) interface.

Of course I know a lot of readers of this blog are wanting to have a play too. In my view it's going to be a few weeks before I get it out to a wider audience. Well, we're not too far away but we need to build in all the important factors such as security and resilience before we allow a in wider developer base.

I've got to think about assigning and managing developer-ids and application-ids so that we can control who and what can access the API. I've also got to think about fair usage limitations, such as how many results are returned in each search, and how many searches per day are allowed.

After all, do we want loads of clients dragging the service down by asking for all 30,000+ products every hour? Someone is going to write such a thing, I know it!

However this all good stuff and I must really thank Paul Tallett at Microsoft UK for his skills, knowledge and enthusiasm in helping deliver the API, and his understanding management for agreeing for him to work on this for us.

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