The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'web services'
Some good news from London: Transport For London, who run the city's public transport networks, have announced that they will be opening access to all their data by the end of June. The data will include station locations, bus routes and timetable information, and will be free from restrictions for commercial or noncommercial use.
The data will be hosted at the London DataStore, a site set up to give the public access to data from public-sector organisations serving London. A few sets are already up, as well as a beta API which returns the locations of Tube trains heading for a specific station. Which could probably be worked into a mobile app to tell you when to start walking to the station. If they had something like this giving the positions and estimated arrival times of buses (whose travel times are considerably more chaotic than those of trains, and which often run less frequently, especially at night), that would be even more useful. (Some approximation of this facility exists in the LED displays, which are installed at some bus stops and sometimes are operational; a XML feed and a mobile web app would probably be a more cost-effective way of getting this information into the hands of commuters.)
Another thing that would be useful would be an API for the Transport for London Journey Planner; being able to ping a URL, passing an some postcodes or station names, a departure/arrival time and some other constraints, and get back, at your option, a maximum journey time or a list of suitable journeys, in XML or JSON format, would be useful in a lot of applications, from device- or application-specific front ends (i.e., a "take me home from here" mobile app) to ways of calculating the "inconvenience distance" between two points by counting travel time and changes (i.e.,in terms of travel convenience, Stratford is closer to Notting Hill than Stoke Newington, despite being further in geographical terms, as it's a straight trip on the Central Line).
I was wondering: is there a XML/RSS schema/namespace/&c for publishing lists of upcoming events (i.e., gigs, performances, film screenings and the like)? I think there should be something like that; that way, artists and/or venues could publish lists of upcoming events on their sites in the format, and others could use aggregators to automatically gather their favourite artists' gigs and what's on at their local haunts into customised gig guides.
I'd write one up myself, only my XML-fu is probably not yet up to it.
FOAF is a way of specifying personal information about a person, including nicknames, links to homepages and lists of people they know, in a XML document. The result is machine-readable "semantic web" homepages which can be traversed, forming social networks; in other words, something like Friendster, only open, XML-based and without the emphasis on bootywhang (though surely someone will come up with a namespace for that in due time), and traversable by any of the countless FOAF browsers due to be written in Perl, Python and Java any day now, or by the web-based FOAF Explorer; if your browser does SVG, there's even a graphical network browser there you can use.
A decent (user-oriented) tutorial on how TrackBack™ works. Somewhat enlightening, though not enough detail to actually implement it if you use your own blog software. (via bOING bOING)
Addictive website of the day: The Covers Project, an online database of cover versions of songs, which shows the longest chains of cover versions so far, and accepts contributions. Also, it's accessible via XML-RPC; so if you were ever wondering what you can do with all this web-services stuff your local Sun/Microsoft salesdrone keeps rabbiting on about, this may be the answer. (via bOING bOING)