Discover Amazing Open Source Code With the Freshmeat API

Allen Tipper
Jun. 24 2011, 08:50AM EDT

If you're reading this, I probably don't have to tell you about Freshmeat. This repository of open source code and projects has been around quite a while, and is used by a number of prominent projects. What you may not know, however, is that Freshmeat offers a well-designed Freshmeat API to help developers access the data on Freshmeat for any purpose that makes sense.

The API is RESTful, and accepts inputs in either JSON or XML. It requires an authentication token, which every active Freshmeat account already has. If you have an account already, get yours here. If not, make yourself an account, then go there. The API is completely free to use, and the only limitation is a request limit of 600 requests per hour.

For those who want even more simplicity, there's a pretty good Perl library and a Ruby library for using the API. The documentation has a nice list of what one can access through the API:

This API deals with data gathering and data entry for the following data types:

Projects
Comments
Dependencies
Project Filters
Votings
Releases
Screenshots
Subscriptions
Tags
URLs
Search

Now, the question is, what would you build with it?

Mobile apps are all the rage these days, but the Android Market is often a mess. What I might like to see is an alternate Market for open-source apps, perhaps using this API, including links to both the .apk files and the source code. This wouldn't be that hard to do, and might revolutionize how open source apps are distributed.

Alternately, one might make an add-on for Eclipse to allow developers to directly upload and update their projects on Freshmeat. This way, a developer could program, maintain, and update the listing of an open source project entirely from within the Eclipse IDE. This might save some time, which all good developers, especially open source developers, find useful.

Allen Tipper Allen Tipper is a Computer Science generalist with a wide range of interests. After graduating in 2008, he's been programming for and specializing in mobile devices, as well as social media websites. As a programmer, APIs are rather important to him, as he finds using them in his software amazingly fun.

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