Yahoo’s Search API
Yahoo yesterday released their Search API. I’m joining the chorus saying that this is a Good Thing, for a few reasons.
- The application key is a really good idea
Some applications like Google and Flickr require developer tokens. While a good way to regulate who uses your application, and curb abuse, the application token holds an advantage for a developer: it allows the application’s source to be distributed in a working state. For source-only applications (such as websites or scripts) a developer code is not possible to hide. Since the companies typically don’t want you to show people ”your” code, people have been distributing the source code with “INSERT_YOUR_TOKEN_HERE” instead of the actual token. In Yahoo’s model the application is easily distributable.
The downside is of course that Yahoo has no way of knowing if I just stole an application code from someone else’s app. It also would allow the developer to register for a large number of application keys and query Yahoo using those keys in round-robin fashion. These are curbable abuses though, and the benefit to developers likely outweighs the downside of server management.
- REST API
While REST is not the best way to access data (SOAP is definitely more structured, more standard), the REST model allows people using languages without good native SOAP support to query the service. I think it’s still really important to offer a SOAP interface, however — those of us using platforms with good SOAP support dislike having to hack around REST.
- Developer communication
Unlike Google’s somewhat marketing-rich blog, the Yahoo folks actually have a real developer blog. They also have a Wiki — nice!
Add a high query limit to this list, and you’ve got a great service that definitely moves the web service evolution of the Net forward.