Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pathways API

This project hit our to-do list a few weeks after I started with Pathways Platform. Rebuilding our own site pages had to happen first, but the reasons for creating an API have continued to mount. There are many reasons to build and expose an API. Specific to Pathways:

  • Many of our clients would like to post their Pathways' jobs on their own website. Our presentation of job listings is superior to the text-only descriptions most of them display on their own sites, and the community metrics are invaluable. Currently, their only option for embedding a Pathways' experience on their own site is to use an i-frame to the job page on our site. This exposes the full functionality of peer video and community information well, but doesn't give a uniform site experience. Clients would like to be able to present the jobs in a way that fits well with the look and feel of their own site.
  • Scalability of our websites. Our company is still small enough to have our web server and database live on the same machine. Internally, the API will allow separation of the presentation and database layers.
  • Other front end products. We already have created a Facebook application that can be added to clients Pages apps, and we are also planning an iPhone application. The API will be our method of collecting data from our servers for presentation in these and other external applications.
We are two weeks into the API projects, and have already been able to create an API complete enough to allow us to create versions of our website pages that completely isolate the database functionality from the rest of the server work. Lots of security development left to do, and a ton of testing and documentation after that, but soon we'll have this product ready to roll.

- Pat Poels

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