O'Reilly Makes its Data Writable, Announces Contest

FluidInfo, the openly writable shared metadata for everything, may have received the push that could catapult it to mainstream adoption among developers. O’Reilly, the leading technical publisher has just published its books and authors information into FluidInfo and declared open a Developer contest that invites developers to the first of its kind “Writable API” competition using the FluidDB API.

Announcing the Writable API competition, Terry Jones explained why this completion was different from other API competions due to the fact that the underlying data was open and writable by all. O’Reilly has gone ahead and populated its books and authors information, the same data available via its readable O'Reilly Product Metadata Interface API, into the FluidInfo database. These objects have been tagged with more than 30 attributes like author, publishing data, title and cross related information like Amazon price, url and so on. The contest thus invites developers to do any of the following:

  • Use the existing O’Reilly book and author data (FluidInfo ObjectS) to build different UI or visualizations.
  • Add additional data to the FluidInfo Objects that would make them more interesting and valuable.
  • Mashup the original and additional data in a fun and useful way.

A little primer of FluidInfo might be useful here. At a high level, a FluidInfo Object can represent anything you want, an example is a ProgrammableWeb article. ProgrammableWeb can now add tags under its domain like author, date published, category and so on. The meta information need not end there. Keeping with its philosophy of giving every user a voice, you can add your own tags to that particular ProgrammableWeb article. For example, you can mention if you liked it, or have read it or have some related links to it and so on. This is the underlying notion of a writeable API, where the data is constantly being worked and augmented by users. Coupled with a powerful and intuitive query API, FluidInfo really opens up a way for you to extract interesting data and mashups from all these relationships.

To participate in the O’Reilly Writable API contest, follow these steps:

  • Create a FluidInfo account and register your application in the contest by adding it to the FluidInfo object that represents the O’Reilly FluidInfo API completion. How cool is that! For example, if your application name is mycoolapp.com, then you need to add a tag named mycoolapp.com/entry to the O’Reilly FluidInfo API completion object.
  • Once you are registered, start understanding the FluidInfo objects that are holding the O’Reilly book and author data along with the tags on them. Look at the O’Reilly FluidInfo Explorer that provides an easy way to look at all the objects, their tags and values.
  • Learn the FluidInfo Query API on the O’Reilly objects. The API is intuitive, REST-like and returns JSON data. There are several language libraries that you can use that wrap the REST API for easy integration into your client applications.
  • Code up your application that either provides a new GUI, adds useful meta information or mashes up the data in unique ways.

The developer portal contains a wealth of information to get started, along with several programmer related articles.

The competition runs from March 21, 2011 to April 10, 2011. The contest is open to legal residents of 50 United States and District of Columbia. The 1st prize is an all expenses paid trip to the OSCON conference to be held in Portland, Oregon on July 25-29, 2011. The 2nd prize is choice of either a 3G iPad 2 or Xoom Tablet. The 3rd prize is $500 worth of O’Reilly ebooks and/or videos. The winners will be announced in early May. See O'Reilly's site for complete rules.


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[...] this year, we covered the O’Reilly Writable API Contest, which invited developers to create applications on top of O’Reilly Books and Author information [...]