Hello API!

Report on the first evening with the Software Study Group, a Forskningsavdelningen interest group that began its activities 2011-04-05.

Reports like this one may be more or less common, we shall see.

Participants: olleolleolle, qzio, kaffekopp, phrst, wesik, jonasb. Anyone I forgot?

Things covered

  • Open Data, Why
  • Scraping human-readable web pages to structure information for machines, using Python, lxml, and Scraperwiki
  • Using Scraperwiki’s API to fetch the now-structured data. See example
  • Guided tour of Peter Rukavina‘s data visualizations of the wind energy creation on Prince Edward Island, Canada
  • Using PHP, Joel built a microframework and a tool to query data from services (“I will Open Source it, when I’ve written the README.”)
  • Comparison to Yahoo! Query Language, and its related tooling
  • Study of the existing opened-but-API-less data sources at opengov.se

When the lightning tour of the tools available was over, we discussed the Data That Matters angle, that is, finding something that can change our local world. Data advocates inside government are key, according to Dutch Open Data expert Ton Zylstra.

Results

To see a working sample of the evening’s results, please visit this example page.

What’s next?

In upcoming meetings, we will look further into web development and aspects of Open Data. This is a beginner-friendly eye-opener excursion into web technology, not a competition. Even if you never hacked on Web stuff before, you can join. Bring a willingness to learn and teach yourself, and help will be provided.

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