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Do you allow others to plug in to your architecture however they’d like?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. Basically an API is a way for other people to write code to access your application or your website. The funny thing is that when I explain this to people they tend to immediately ask me: “Why would I want that??”. Well, let us start with a small website that exploded in popularity almost overnight: Twitter.
The idea of Twitter is very simple: post what you are doing in 140 characters or less. You can follow what others do, and they can follow what you do. Doesn’t sound like much, and really the idea is very simple. However, the implementation was much more than just that. One of the key features that contributed to the Twitter’s success was its ability for users to send messages however they liked: through the website, through text messaging, or by accessing the service through its API. Continue reading
Rails 3 boasts a whole slew of improvements over the previous version, one of my favorite changes is the way the new router works. It’s a lot like the Merb router, but builds on the ideas and adds all sorts of functionality and configurability that is not possible (or is a lot more painful) in Rails 2 or Merb. One thing you can do to learn about the functionality of the router is open up the source files. They are in the ruby gem ActionPack in the action_dispatch folder. This is what I have done as well as looked at what others have done. The documentation is quite good in the source files. However, for those who do not wish to locate and read the source and read multiple blog posts, I thought it’d be fun to go through and thoroughly document the behaviors and give a overview of how they work.
Have you ever seen a cog? It’s almost certain that you have if you’ve ever seen a bicycle. A cog is a piece of metal that works in tandem with other cogs to make things move. With the advent of relatively modern manufacturing techniques, it became possible to change out these cogs if they ever became worn or damaged. It used to be (several decades ago) that if you purchased a device and a piece broke that you’d have to have someone custom make that piece for your device. Making interchangeable pieces was a brilliant idea when it first came to light, and it still is. Unfortunately it has become something we have taken for granted and have taken this idea into realms in which it does not belong.
Have you ever felt like a cog, like your boss or clients could replace you at any time and still get the same results? Most people do, as this is how most of us have been trained to be: follow the rules, do as you’re told, be predictable, be consistent. Many of us have been trained to think that rewards are given by the people “in charge” and that if you do what they want then you’ll be happy and successful. However, this model has started to fall apart drastically in the past few years. Continue reading