Successful Social web sites keep users engaged. One popular engagement feature is Questions and Answers (Q&A), where users can ask questions and experts (or any user) can answer. Qhub, a service that allows you to setup a Q&A section on your site has pushed the envelope by releasing its Qhub API that could enhance your Q&A offering in your application and increase its reach via applications.
Setting up a Qhub site is dead simple and various pricing plans are in place. The site is completely hosted on your behalf by Qhub. Take a look at the sample hub to get an idea about what Qhub offers. The Qhub API allows the construction of third party applications, which can use the main features that a traditionally hosted Qhub site provides.
To get started with the Qhub API, you need to be a registered user of Qhub. Each request to the Qhub API is validated with an active user within the specified Qhub. The API is REST based and both JSON and XML data formats are supported. Currently there are no rate limits specified but API usage is monitored per hour by IP and excessive usage is restricted.
The API documentation is comprehensive and covers all functions ranging from user validation, posting/answering a question to retrieving question/answer lists, users, etc. For example, to post a question, the API call looks like:
where HUB_URL is the domain name of the hub. For example, http://myqa.qhub.com. When you create an account at Qhub, you will get a sub-domain and users can access your Q&A site directory via that URL. Alternately, paid plans also allow you to do Domain forwarding.
The parameters to be passed in the POST request are Question, Tags and UserId. Each of these calls need to be validated, so you need to also provide the QHub domain name and the user account name and password.
While it might not be immediately clear why one would need an API for managing a Q&A Hub, consider the possibilities. If you have a Q&A Site, what if you had a cron application that monitors the site for new questions posted and notifies the experts who have answered similar questions before. You could also potentially notify the user who asked the question, whenever any responses have been posted. All these could be mobile applications that could be powered through the API.
Do you incorporate a Q&A section in your social site and if yes, what are your views on being able to control all of that via an API?