Today in APIs: Siri, Yelp, Government and 15 New APIs

Apple now integrates with the Yelp API with its personal assistant app Siri. Sunlight Labs asks if governments really need APIs. Plus: APIs at NPR and PBS, Amazon routing and 15 new APIs.

Siri, Make Me a Sandwich

Or how about finding me someone to make me a sandwich? It can do that, thanks to integration with Yelp:

Apple launched iOS 5.1 and with it, an updated Siri and Yelp integration on iPhone. Now when searching for a recommendation on local businesses, Siri will return Yelp-reviewed businesses and when you tap the star rating (BOOM!) you are immediately taken to the Yelp business profile page. Oh, the places you’ll go... now that you’ll have faster access to Yelp review highlights, quick tips, hours of operation, address, phone number, photos -- the list goes on.

Via Brian Tan

We Don't No Stinkin' Government APIs

There are 6 Sunlight Labs API in our directory, so it was strange to see the company suggest that governments don't need APIs. But that's not really what they're saying:

To sum up, Sunlight is pro-API - we make our own, and we welcome them from the government when they enhance access to information (the API is a particularly good example). However, the first step government should take, in nearly all cases, is to offer the data directly and in bulk. They'll save themselves mountains of hassle, will better and more quickly serve entrepreneurs and developers, and will encourage the broadest possible use of their data by the public.

As with most things, we usually want both. There is an upside and plenty of use cases for both APIs and data downloads. It's great to have the flexibility of data and the granularity of APIs. Of course, there's a downside to each, as well: big downloads or the feeling of being hamstrung by what the API gives access.

Via Peter Skomoroch

API News You Shouldn't Miss

15 New APIs

Today we had 15 new APIs added to our API directory including employee scheduling and workforce management software, lorem ipsum generator, energy efficiency certification processing service, project management and collaboration software, TED Talks video library and an Italian route planning and mapping service. Below is more details on each of these new APIs.

AladtecAladtec API: Aladtec provides online employee scheduling and workforce management software. Their EMS Manager is used by ambulance services to manage availability and shift sign-ups. The FIRE Manager is used by fire departments to help with shift rotations and maintaining certifications. Zanager is used by organizations such as nursing homes and dispatch centers to organize employee scheduling.

The Aladtec API allows developers to integrate any of the software services with their own applications. The API exposes the functionality of the software suite and allows the data to be pulled into a third party application. The API uses HTTP calls and responses are formatted in XML.

Bacon IpsumBacon Ipsum API: Bacon Ipsum is a lorem ipsum generator that uses types and cuts of meat. Users can select the number of paragraphs along with the type of text they want generated. Users can select all-meat for meat only or meat-and-filler for meat mixed with miscellaneous 'lorem ipsum' filler. The API uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in JSON.

Colorado HBGuestColorado HBGuest API: The services from the state Division of Water Resources (DWR) gives access to watershed and groundwater resources data throughout the state from its Hydrobase repository. Data is available to cooperating agencies, environmental researchers, and others with an interest in water supply within the state.

API methods support retrieval of water supply data by county and for groups of wells or specific wells. Results include test results for well production as well as factors influencing supply like volcanic activity and aquifer characteristics. Methods also provide summaries of the agency's transactions, well drilling permits issued, etc.

ColoradoWaterSMS ColoradoWaterSMS API: The service from the state’s Division of Water Resources (DWR) provides measurements of surface water resources, including stream flow and climate effects, from watersheds statewide. The data is available to cooperating agencies, environmental researchers, developers, and other interested parties.

API methods support retrieval of current conditions in streams and reservoirs across Colorado along with rating tables and shift curves indicating their susceptibility to contamination and variance in flow. Methods also document measuring stations and water districts administering state water resources.

EnergyStar Third-Party CertificationEnergyStar Third-Party Certification API: The free service from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes a qualified product exchange (QPX) system to accept requests for EnergyStar certification and facilitate processing of those requests by certification bodies (CBs). The service augments prior systems, which were based on submission of spreadsheets listing all currently certified products. It handles XML submissions for individual products, including capabilities to modify certification requests after submission.

API methods support submission of EnergyStar certification requests for products like boilers, air conditioners and heat pumps, dehumidifiers, commercial fryers and griddles, and electronic equipment. Methods also support modifying, withdrawing, and re-submitting existing certifications.

FlyMineFlyMine API: The service aggregates genetic data about fly organisms commonly used in biological research: Drosophila, Anopheles and C. elegans. It documents the genomes and protein data for these animals, supporting data mining across domains within biological research.

API methods support submission of queries against the database specifying the animals of interest via constraints such as genus, species, and genetic symbol. Methods also allow control of result sets, including number of results returned and output format.

LiveConnectLiveConnect API: LiveConnect lets developers build apps and web sites that can connect with Hotmail, SkyDrive and Windows Live Messenger. The API can work with Hotmail to allow users to access, create and update contacts and calendars. Users can access and work with any media stored in SkyDrive and they can connect with Messenger to enable real-time chat. The API uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in JSON.

MobilepaxMobilepax API: The Turkish service provides a single platform to collect payments via mobile devices, using either SMS text message, GSM messaging, or web. Payment functions handle transactions like physical products, website subscriptions, content payments, online games, online betting, movie and event ticketing, and more.

API methods support registration of a vendor's SMS application and exchanging messages as well as registration and interactions with a web commerce application. The service processes the requested payment and returns a status message with confirmation or error notification.

Norwegian Meteorological InstituteNorwegian Meteorological Institute API: The service provides application-level access to weather data from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute related to both civil and military activities. It excludes access to some data provided by organizations other than the institute itself, as noted in product-specific documentation. The service provides forecasts and reports of observed conditions in either Norwegian or English, weather map images, and related information such as reports of volcanic activity and sunset/sunrise times.

API methods support retrieval of both text and audio forecasts by area within Norway, observation station reports, and supporting imagery such as maps and some satellite and radar images. Methods also provide reports of winds, tides, volcanic activity, UV index, and other ancillary information.

Parlay XParlay X API: Parlay X offers an array of telephony APIs that provide services such as managing third party calls, sending multimedia messages, determining user location, and providing short message services (SMS). They also offer APIs for managing users' accounts, statuses, and payments.

The Parlay X APIs are designed to enable the creation of telephony applications as well as to "telecom-enable" IT applications. These APIs are intended to stimulate the development of network applications by IT developers who are not necessarily experts in telephony or telecommunications.

SPIN RDFSPIN RDF API: The service provides application-level access to the provider's SPARQLMotion engine, which connects processing steps in sequence where one step generates output that becomes input to the next. Processing steps build queries in the SPARQL language to generate RDF graphs encoding data passed from step to step. Queries also perform actions to process result sets, construct RDF triples and modify RDF data sources.

API methods support conversion between SPARQL query strings to SPIN (SPARQL Inferencing Format) RDF encoding, using either format as input and generating the other format.

TeamlabTeamlab API: TeamLab is an open-source platform for business collaboration and project management. The platform includes software for managing project, collaborating with team members, document management and a CRM. The TeamLab API exposes the functionality of the platform and gives developers programmatic access to it. Users can perform standard CRUD operations on groups, files, projects, forums, people and more. The API uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in XML and JSON.

TEDTED API: TED is a non-profit that holds a set of conferences devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading." TED has opened their library of over 1,000 TEDTalks and users can access it through an API. The API also exposes all of the data associated with the talks including TED Quotes, events, themes, tags and more. It uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in XML and JSON.

TriumphTriumph API: The Triumph API allows users to retrieve lessons and tests on unspecified subjects. It also provides a calendar/planner function and methods for accessing media resources. It has the capacity to keep track of multiple users and their information. The Triumph API operates via SOAP using the XML data format.

Viamente Route PlannerViamente Route Planner API: The Italian service maps optimal routes to maximize efficiency of deliveries and other transportation services. It develops route coverage with multiple destinations and vehicles, with scheduling and turn-by-turn directions adaptable to mobile phones and GPS devices.

API methods support listing of destinations to be included in a route and creation of a routing matrix, including efficiency optimization functions. Methods also support tracking and updating a vehicle inventory for fleet operations.


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[...] Today in APIs: Siri, Yelp, Government and 15 New APIs The API uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in JSON. Mobilepax API: The Turkish service provides a single platform to collect payments via mobile devices, using either SMS text message, GSM messaging, or web. Read more on ProgrammableWeb (blog) [...]