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Web Design and Development
Getting Started

Meerkat: An Open Service API
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Meerkat: An Open Service API

• Introduction to Open Services

• The Meerkat API

• Meerkat Flavours

• Recipes: Passing Parameters to Meerkat

• Examples and Resources

The Meerkat API

So here's where I take my own advice and open the doors on Meerkat: An Open Wire Service.

Meerkat is a Web-based syndicated content reader based on RSS ("Rich Site Summary"). RSS is a fantastic, simple-yet-powerful syndication system rapidly gaining momentum. For discussion of the ins and outs of RSS, as well as more information on Meerkat, I direct you to my article, Meerkat: An Open Wire Service and the Resources section at the end of this article.

RSS is an XML-based rendering of stories on your site you'd like to make available for syndication. These stories are composed of a title, a link (back to your site), and an optional description or blurb. I and others come along and grab these stories for incorporation into our own sites -- with links back to the full stories on yours.

Meerkat takes this a few steps further. Rather than simply incorporating a few headlines into the O'Reilly Network's web site,

  • Meerkat's back-end acts as an aggregator for technology/computer/geek/science-related content.
  • Meerkat's database provides said content to the O'Reilly Network and affiliates.
  • The front-end affords visitors a spiffy RSS reader, organized along category/channel/chronological lines and sporting the power of regular expression searches.

It came to my attention one day that a popular news site was visiting Meerkat on a regular basis and scraping the HTML that Meerkat produced to grab the stories and incorporate them into their site. Needless to say, I was outraged! This poor programmer not only has to suffer through the tedium of writing a program to parse Meerkat's HTML, but must constantly follow changes I make between Meerkat releases with code updates. So I set to work making it easier for him/her and others like her/him, resulting in what I've affectionately termed Meerkat Flavours...

Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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