January 23, 2007

Give It a Rest (by Larry O'Brien) and Search APIs

An interesting article on SOAP vs. REST, plus some comments on the Search API landscape.

SD Times carries an article by Larry O'Brien on REST vs. SOAP. As I already blogged in the past, I fully agree with his position. We cannot say that WS-* is dead... only because it never came alive. REST, on the other hand, is doing quite well and I prefer using it whenever possible.

Now, looking at the biggest web players, it is interesting to see which APIs they promote. As an example, I've checked search APIs, that is how you can create a custom search based on the most relevant search engines:

  • Google used to have a SOAP-based search API I used in the past. As of last December, they killed it. Now the only official alternative you have it to use they JavaScript/AJAX-based API. This is good for a web site, but not for a stand alone Windows application that needs to perform a search. Notice that for other APIs Google uses REST, as well. They seem undecided, but are moving away from SOAP.
  • Yahoo has a REST-based API. Totally open and very easy to use both from web sites and standalone applications. They actually have REST-based APIs for most of their services. No SOAP.
  • Microsoft has a SOAP-based search API. The site provides almost no information and the mixed references to MSN-search and Windows Live Search are confusing. But the service seems to be very open (I've not tested it). Microsoft was and still is a big fan on SOAP, but RESt is starting to creep there as well, and they are also actively moving into the AJAX field.

What about Delphi? You can directly interact with the Yahoo and Microsoft services, and indirectly create web pages that use the Google one. I guess a "long article" or "short book" on this issue would be an interesting tutorial, even though there are many sources covering how to use similar web services...



Give It a Rest (by Larry O'Brien) and Search APIs 

Marco, ok to "use" an existing REST service.. but 
where can we find some documentation available 
about "writing" a REST service in Delphi? If there 
isn't, maybe you could think to add something in your 
upcoming "short book" :-)
Comment by Roberto Icardi on January 23, 12:51

Give It a Rest (by Larry O'Brien) and Search APIs 

  there are examples of writing a REST-based Web
Service in Mastering Delphi 2005 (and in the Italian
edition on Delphi 2006). I know that buying a big book
for a single example would be overkill, though...
That's why I'm considering small and focused books.
Comment by Marco Cantù [http://www.marcocantu.com] on January 23, 13:00

Give It a Rest (by Larry O'Brien) and Search APIs 

 Marco, well, I have the italian version of your 
book, so I'll take a closer look :-) By the way, I 
think that the good thing about your books is that 
they give you some "hints" about directions you can 
take, but I see space for some more in-depth and 
specialistic mini-books, available online,as 
obviously you cannot go in-depth about everything in 
ordinar "mastering" books... but obviously I leave to 
you any other consideration about feasibility and 
commercial opportunity. 
I think the most interested subject is Codegear 
itself, as there's lack of documentation (to be good 
<g>), but I think you cannot count on them... but.. 
who knows?
Comment by Roberto Icardi on January 23, 14:03

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