Older blog entries for bjgm (starting at number 1)

16 May 2002 (updated 16 May 2002 at 21:52 UTC) »
Web Services, where are they hiding?

I was very happy to stumble upon the XML-RPC interface which is available for Advogato, as I generally hate to use a web browser for things that I feel can be done better programatically (like the functionality on this site). I therefore began working on a Java program to interface with this site, using the XML-RPC interface.

The Apache XML-RPC libraries for Java seem quite nice so far, and I tested out all the methods in a hard coded way already to see how well they work. Due to the speed of Advogato, and the type of XML-RPC calls that were implemented, I think I will need to do a great deal of caching to make the program work well, and even with that in place there is a lot of site functionality that isn't available over XML-RPC

Since this site is certainly not add-driven, I would like to propose / suggest some additions / modifications to the XML-RPC interface of Advogato to allow for more robust / pleasant to look at clients to be written against it's functionality. Then again, feel free to blow me off as well :)

I suggest the following additions to the Advogato XML-RPC interface =>
1) As with the diary, methods to get / post articles.
2) Bulk methods, to get a number (X) entries / articles, rather than the one at a time current implementation.
3) A way to interact with the certification system.
4) A way to access the "recent posts" functionality, which I must say is most excellent.

And now relating to the topic of this diary entry, the XML-RPC implementation here got me into "research mode", and I wanted to see what other sites / services on the net had these (or SOAP) interfaces to their functionality (other than Google, which I had heard about weeks ago, but they have that "search limit", which it probably necessary from a resource standpoint, but rather bogus from a programmatic standpoint.

I looked through the IBM UDDI directory, and also another SOAP / XML-RPC service registration site, but over 50% of the stuff in there was complete garbage, and of the stuff that was there, I didn't find anything at all that was interesting enough to spend my time implementing a client that worked against it.


Symbiotic Thoughts

I felt a good first post would be to describe my project, and get some of the concepts / ideas related to it explained a bit, for my own good as well as others, and if nothing ever comes of this project, I hope at least that others are given ideas which come to fruition from this.

Problem set =>

1) Systems which are secure are rately easy to use. As the use of technology grows it will become more important that information be secure / encrypted, not only for network transmission, but also for local persistence. This needs to occur with little to no impact on the user.

2) Authentication is also related to #1, but deserves a number of it's own. There are currently a large number of different authentication mechanisms, but again they are often not simple to use, from either a programmatic or a user perspective, and the lack of a single standard causes problems with system interoperability.

3) Information Management / Sharing is another problem, which a lot of people try to solve by having web pages for everything. This approach really isn't that horrible, as HTML is a decent data display mechanism, but some areas that need improvement there are the ability to add ACL type security to information, and also a good rating system to make it easier to find "good" information.

This is just for starters, and I would love to hear about other people's thoughts on not only this problem set, but related problems which need to / can be addressed programatically.

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!