New SDK for Android, OAuth Solutions & More Good Stuff

December 17 2012

We thought we’d beat Santa to the punch as the holiday season kicks into full gear. Check out some of the great new stuff we’ve made for you.

image

Temboo SDK for Android 
Build for mobile with our newest SDK for Android, now live and ready for download. Dream up your electric sheep app (or whatever idea you have) and fit it right in your pocket.

OAuth Solutions
If OAuth’s your headache, let us be your aspirin. New OAuth Choreos for FacebookFoursquareDropbox, and GitHub handle the OAuth process for your app’s users. Additionally, our new OAuth Wizard for Facebook will help you obtain the OAuth credentials you’ll need to access their API.

More Help, More Service
Our Get Started guides for each of our SDKs will show you how to Temboo in the language of your choice. We’ve also added Email Error Reports: should something go wrong with a Choreo call, you’ll hear about it.

That’s it for today. For more good stuff, you should follow us on Twitter here.

We thought we’d beat Santa to the punch as the holiday season kicks into full gear. Check out some of the great new stuff we’ve made for you. Temboo SDK for Android  Build for mobile with our newest SDK for Android, now live and ready for download. Dream up your electric sheep app (or whatever idea […]

Dev Diary: Coding without Temboo

October 11 2012

In October of 2012, Temboo released a special kind of DevShortcut: superpowerChoreos that take care of a host of development tasks and hook into multiple APIs. One of them was called GoodCitizen.Civic and it returned civic information from a specified area using data.gov, SunlightLabs, LittleSis, and GovTrack … in five lines of code.

The following is a page found from a developer’s logbook as he tried to build the very same app (minus one API):  

I’ll start by trying to get demographic data from Data.gov. The overall Data.gov documentation is a sprawling mess. Finally I realize that the actual API I’m looking for isn’t listed under the Census or Demographics sections at all – it’s actually called the “broadband map API.” (And here I was thinking that broadband was about internet connections, rather than census counts. Whatever.)

There’s no API wrapper that I could find for the Data.gov “broadband map” API, so I’m just going to make the HTTP call directly myself. Awesome. In order to do that, I need an HTTP client library – the Apache HTTPClient lib has worked well for me in the past, so I’ll add that to the project.

Of course, since it’s an Apache library I actually need to add in 4 other libraries that are dependencies (httpmime, httpcore, commons-codec, and commons-logging).

To efficiently handle the data returned by Data.gov, I need to add another library – Apache IOUtils. (Yes, I could do my stream-to-string conversions, etc., without this, but it would make the code much longer.) Now that I’ve found my way to the right place, the Data.gov API documentation isn’t fantastic, but after spending a bit of quality time wrestling with the syntax I can make the call.

Now, on to Sunlight Labs.

The Sunlight Labs API docs page points me at a Java library on Github created 3 years ago by some guy named “lordjoe” (https://github.com/lordjoe/java-sunlightapi/)

The documentation refers to some JAR files that don’t actually exist in the git repo, but whatever; I’ll give it a try.

I cloned the repo and ran the test program; it fails with an error. Not exactly encouraging, but…

Upon further investigation, it turns out that lordjoe’s Sunlight Labs wrapper API I downloaded doesn’t actually include a method to get a list of legislators by coordinates. Fantastic. Fortunately, there’s another Sunlight Labs wrapper on Github written by “tdanforth” two years ago. This one isn’t referenced by their documentation, but I’ll give it a try.

Again, this library is in source format — there’s no JAR available — but at this point I don’t really care. (tdanford has actually included an ANT buildfile, but it’s not worth trying to reconfigure now. I’ll just add this as an item on my todo-list, if I actually get this library functioning.)

The API wrapper provided by tdanford does include a method to list legislators by coordinates (hooray!) but it turns out the way the library is structured doesn’t actually let me use the method because the Legislators API object is defined as a private inner class (@#$%#@!) – so it looks like I’m going to need to refractor tdanford’s API wrapper to make it work in my project.

Refactor completed. Next, I want to use the Sunlight Labs API data to make a request to GovTrack to get information about what each legislator has voted for. As far as I can tell, the only API wrapper available for GovTrack is in Ruby – so again, I’m going to need to write my own wrapper. Fortunately, the GovTrack API documentation is really clean and well presented, so hopefully it won’t hurt too much.

The last step in my project is connecting to Capitol Words, to retrieve top phrases for each of the legislators. There doesn’t seem to be any wrapper library at all for the CapitolWords API, so I’m back to assembling my own HTTP requests. (Deep breath.)

Final status:
Lines of code (without doing any parsing on the API data): 234
External library dependencies: 9

In October of 2012, Temboo released a special kind of DevShortcut: superpowerChoreos that take care of a host of development tasks and hook into multiple APIs. One of them was called GoodCitizen.Civic and it returned civic information from a specified area using data.gov, SunlightLabs, LittleSis, and GovTrack … in five lines of code. The following is a page found […]

Oh data! Oh my!

September 13 2012

Katalina, API Researcher and one of our Choreographers, discusses the team’s work in making today’s omni-prevalence of data useful and digestible:

We at Temboo have been keeping a gimlet eye out for open government data sets that might have wide ranging appeal and make for interesting apps. As a result of Obama’s Open Government Initiative new data sets are being released all the time.

We almost fell off our chairs thinking about all the strange and wonderful apps that could be built toward the public good when we came across the likes of the NASA data sets. How about a Lightning app that tracks where in the world lightning is striking in real time? Or an app that calculates your chances of being struck by a piece of falling space debris given your coordinates? The brutal truth is that NASA has a lot of data, and it will be some time yet before all those zettabytes of information are easily available to the public.

One of the issues with big data releases from the government, of course, is that it can be complex. The agencies often dump files upon the public, providing no viable interface or documentation, and we are expected to wade through the results. Case in point: the Department of Education data, built upon the Socrata system. We felt strongly that we wanted to add this data to our Library, but the information returned by the Socrata based methods was a no-man’s land of metadata fields and useless JSON junk. The data itself was hidden in a labyrinthine structure of unintelligible field names with equally bewildering numerical values contained therein.

What does it all mean? We rolled up our sleeves and dug through the voluminous documentation to see if we could wrap our heads around it all and come up with more meaningful kinds of outputs. We then painstakingly mapped the raw government data field names to ones that are concise — and above all,  descriptive — of what information they really contain.

Source to Target (DoE raw data to Choreo-categorized) mapping

To make the Department of Education data more intelligible to an average user, we performed some legerdemain using the Map function in Twyla, the software we use to build Choreos. We turned the hairy source XML into well-groomed target XML files by mapping each field one-by-one. For the sake of clarity and usability, we occasionally omitted data fields we felt were too obscure or cumbersome. With this combing done, building the Choreos that make up our Department of Education Bundle was a simple process.

The Department of Education bundle will be released with version 1.73 later this month.

Katalina, API Researcher and one of our Choreographers, discusses the team’s work in making today’s omni-prevalence of data useful and digestible: We at Temboo have been keeping a gimlet eye out for open government data sets that might have wide ranging appeal and make for interesting apps. As a result of Obama’s Open Government Initiative new […]

The Wonderful Wizard of OAuth

July 16 2012

Version (numero 1.71) of Temboo is being released today and includes the fruit of our creative (and bug-stomping) endeavors: we’re debuting OAuth wizards (an awesome new feature), and Yahoo joins our Choreo Library.

OAuth wizards
These wizards are a part of our Credential tool and specifically serve APIs that use OAuth for authentication. They offer step-by-step guidance to obtain OAuth values, simplifying and streamlining the often time-consuming and technically difficult process of getting credentials and putting them to work in your code.

OAuth wizard in action

Credentials, as you might recall, are a convenient way to handle third-party access — they store sensitive data so it can be easily utilized by your code, yet live separately from it (no more embedding passwords!).

We’re beginning to roll out OAuth wizards for selected APIs, with more on the way. In this round: Dropbox Choreos and from the Google family: Calendar, Contacts, Latitude, Picasa.

Yahoo joins our Choreo Library
We’re welcoming the Yahoo bundle to our Choreo Library, supporting the Weather, PlaceFinder, and Finance APIs. Start thinking of all you can do with locational weather info, the capacity of converting street names into geographical coordinates, and financial market news.

We hope you’ll use these new additions to augment your app-building superpowers. And, we’d love to hear your feedback — after all, we make these for you.

Version (numero 1.71) of Temboo is being released today and includes the fruit of our creative (and bug-stomping) endeavors: we’re debuting OAuth wizards (an awesome new feature), and Yahoo joins our Choreo Library. OAuth wizards These wizards are a part of our Credential tool and specifically serve APIs that use OAuth for authentication. They offer […]

New today: Credentials, Ruby SDK, and Choreo Library additions

June 29 2012

Our new release (version numero 1.70) includes some significant new additions to Temboo: Ruby brigade, we welcome your language to our SDK family, and Credentials join the Temboo toolkit. We think these seriously powerful tools will help you code waaay smarter.

In a bit more detail:

Credentials — the sun behind the cloud
This we know: handling authentication can be a joyless task. Our Credential tool allows you to securely store and manage passwords, keys, and tokens. Credentials live separately from your code (no more embedding passwords or OAuth tokens in your apps) so you can update API authentication without updating your code. Give them a try from our Library. And come mid-July, our OAuth Helpers will help simplify that specific authentication process — you’ll be hearing more on that then.
The Temboo SDK, now in Ruby!  
Ruby joins our SDK family of Java, PHP, and Python. Running Choreos with the new SDK is simple — our examples, walkthrough, and documentation will get you started. We’re pleased, but won’t rest: still more languages are on their way.
New Civic and Green APIs in the Choreo Library
We added helpful Choreos for a host of NYTimes APIs (Campaign Finance, Event Listings, Times Newswire, Article Search, and Movie Reviews). And, we wrote Choreos for Sunlight Foundation’s Influence Explorer, and environmentally-focused Genability, Brighter Planet, and EnviroFacts APIs. To run Choreos for these new APIs (or any of the 70+ APIs we support), visit our Library.
We look forward to hearing your feedback as you put these new features to work! We build tools that enable you to code smarter, simpler and more powerfully because we want you to focus on the innovation, not the perspiration, of app-making. If we’re helping you do that, please spread the word — there isn’t a higher compliment you could pay us.
Our new release (version numero 1.70) includes some significant new additions to Temboo: Ruby brigade, we welcome your language to our SDK family, and Credentials join the Temboo toolkit. We think these seriously powerful tools will help you code waaay smarter. In a bit more detail: Credentials — the sun behind the cloud This we […]

Amazon Marketplace Choreos

June 19 2012

As many a seller knows, the Amazon Marketplace API can be an exacting beast. Our always-helpful Choreos do some super heavy lifting to tame this particular API.

Let’s say a seller wants to list a product. Here’s a visual of that fairly common desire from the Marketplace API documentation:

Which is to say: construct the listing in Amazon’s (persnickety) file format; upload the file; check in later to see if it’s been accepted, or (so very likely) rejected for a formatting error.

Our AddOrUpdateInventoryItems Choreo simplifies the process: just fill in the necessary inputs and run the Choreo (there’s an extra feature included that lets sellers check on and retrieve submission status).

That’s just one example. You’ll find a multitude of Choreos for the functions sellers need — like generating order reports, payment processing, and order fulfillment — in the Amazon Marketplace Choreo Library.

As many a seller knows, the Amazon Marketplace API can be an exacting beast. Our always-helpful Choreos do some super heavy lifting to tame this particular API. Let’s say a seller wants to list a product. Here’s a visual of that fairly common desire from the Marketplace API documentation: Which is to say: construct the […]

Campaign Finance and Events APIs added to Library

June 15 2012

Just in time to aid in hacking at this weekend’s Hack’n Jill, we’ve added Choreos for three new APIs to our Library:

New York Times Event Listings
Search the NYTimes for events by location, categories, and keywords.

New York Times Campaign Finance
A dataset on political candidates and campaign donations, expenditures, and contributors.

Influence Explorer
A data aggregator and tool to access data on campaign finance, lobbying, earmarks, and federal spending data; by Sunlight Foundation’s technology arm, Sunlight Labs.

These join our family of Choreos for 70+ of the most-utilized APIs.

We wish the hackers an exhilarating weekend — happy making!

Just in time to aid in hacking at this weekend’s Hack’n Jill, we’ve added Choreos for three new APIs to our Library: New York Times Event Listings Search the NYTimes for events by location, categories, and keywords. New York Times Campaign Finance A dataset on political candidates and campaign donations, expenditures, and contributors. Influence Explorer […]

The Summer of 1.69

May 22 2012

If it’s hot in here, it’s definitely because our sizzling new release just dropped. Version numero 1.69 is all about providing more powerful ways for you to make the apps you want, how you want. With this round, we seriously expanded your Temboo toolkit. Here’s how:

Our Java SDK just got some company: PHP & Python
You asked for more languages, and we listened: You can now run Choreos in Python and PHP with our new SDKs. We also sprinkled more documentation love on the Java SDK (which, FYI, is Android-friendly). And, we’re just getting started! We’ve got SDKs for more languages in the works.
New APIs in the Choreo Library
We added more APIs to our Library, including bitly, LinkedIn, Google Directions and Google Place (to name but a few). Our Choreo documentation shows you how to run them all in Java, Python, and PHP.
Code examples on GitHub
Want to see specific ways to harness API power? Check out the nuts and bolts in action on GitHub, where we’ve pushed practical examples of apps, tools, and workflows made with the Temboo SDK. You can use our extended code samples in your own code.
Interested (or, better yet, intrigued ;))? Head over to our site and give these new features a whirl.
And, if you like what you’ve seen so far on Temboo, spread the word! (If you don’t, please, please let us know.) The highest compliment you can pay us is a word-of-mouth referral.
Happy making!
If it’s hot in here, it’s definitely because our sizzling new release just dropped. Version numero 1.69 is all about providing more powerful ways for you to make the apps you want, how you want. With this round, we seriously expanded your Temboo toolkit. Here’s how: Our Java SDK just got some company: PHP & Python You […]

Hack Day 2 – playing with the SDK!

February 10 2012

…in which we finally get to hack on the product we’ve been building for months.

We’ve been working nonstop on our new product for months now, and it was about time we gave ourselves a break. So last Monday we geared up for the second in what will be a series of internal Hack Days: for each one, we band together across the company (and the country!) into small teams that each have a day to make something cool with stuff from the Temboo ecosystem.
One thing that made this Hack Day special was that it represented the first time that non-engineers in the company got to play with our new toy, the Java SDK. As a Java dabbler myself, it was really something to be able to actually use the product we had spent months designing and building out. Spoiler alert: it’s awesome.

Without further ado, here’s what we made:

Team 1 – Temboo Demos
JB, Reid, and Joaquin mocked up a “Demos” section of the Temboo Library that would feature sample applications based off of the APIs and shortcuts in the Temboo Library. The interface would break down demos by function (Search, Back up, Convert, Provision, etc) and provide our users with simple skeleton scripts they could riff off of.

Team 2 – MARTHA, the Choreo-executing Campfire bot (PLUS a button of the co-founder)
Mark W., Nick, and Noah (your handsome author) decided to add some life to the company’s Campfire room. Not only did Nick roll his own version of a Campfire chat API out of the Temboo PHP SDK (which, ahem, Nick also wrote), but we added an extra-special feature for our co-founder: we gave him a physical button he could press anytime he wanted to say hi to our non-NYC colleagues. Noah cobbled together the physical interface with an Arduino+Ethernet shield and some discrete components…it was actually doing a lot more earlier in the day, such as alerting people in the NYC office when there was increased activity in the chatroom, but he ran out of ROM space about a half hour before the gong sounded 😦

Team 3 – Geisty, the trend-summarizing agent
Matthew, Jason and Brian went all out and rolled their own fully-fledged “river of trends” that summarized what was hot on the web at the moment. They took the various “trending” methods from Google, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram (all nicely normalized via our Library’s API abstractions), and served them up automatically to a nifty Tumblr site.

Team 4 – How Rotten Are You?
Tim, Trisala, Aaron and Grant mashed up the Netflix and Rotten Tomatoes APIs to make a site that would analyze your Netflix queue and then tell you, on average, how your taste rated on the Rotten Tomatoes scale. The team used the (under construction) Temboo REST API to execute a series of simple cURL requests to get all the needed data, then served it up in a spiffy jQuery interface. They lost a little time dealing with XSRF woes, but what would a demo be without a few hacks?

Team 5 – Trip Butler
Risa, Bob, and Monty took a pragmatic approach and made themselves a tool they actually needed: their custom Choreo helps them prepare for our upcoming all-hands meeting in the New York office. They used our in-development Twyla application (which lets you author custom Choreos) to absorb the Google Calendars of everyone on the trip (taking into account meetings, travel time, etc) and create a spreadsheet full of events and venues that were highly-recommended on Yelp, foursquare, and Google Places.

Team 6 – Sleepy Heads
Devon, Gina and Jimmy outclassed us all by coming up with an Android app AND a roadmap outlining future development for their idea…way to make us look bad, guys! The concept was a riff on the “smart” alarm clock trend exemplified by the UP and the WakeMate. This alarm takes a more pragmatic approach, using your schedule information combined with local news, traffic, and weather to make a smart estimation of the offset you should add to your normal wake-up time. For example, if the Giants win the superbowl and make everyone late, your alarm will go off early enough for you to still be the first in the office. One exciting direction this could also add would be a social aspect…the ability to bug you when your friends are already at work, getting stuff done, and you’re still in bed.

Takeaways

OAuth may be the single most common headache we all ran into. They may call it a dance, but between the confusingly inconsistent implementations, the difficult-to-automate processes, and the sometimes-nonexistent documentation, it’s definitely still more of a slog. Never fear, however – we have something in the works that will make this dance a breeze!

Harnessing the Power of Shame: At several points during our demos, we realized how much many social interactions are influenced by a fear that others will judge us…from quantifying movie tastes to a social alarm clock, it was very interesting to see this little-addressed social motive emerge as one of the more prominent design themes this time. Perhaps we should look deeper into this for the next round of hacks; but you tell us: what would you like to see us focus on next Hack Day?

…in which we finally get to hack on the product we’ve been building for months. We’ve been working nonstop on our new product for months now, and it was about time we gave ourselves a break. So last Monday we geared up for the second in what will be a series of internal Hack Days: […]
Page 1 of 1