An Ohloh API is coming

One of the most difficult challenges of running Ohloh is deciding which, among the plethora of great ideas, to implement next. You (our community) are continually suggesting very interesting ideas – as well as requesting reasonable bug fixes. With our current resources, I figure we could spend the next year just working on the stuff you’ve proposed already – without taking account the suggestions that keep on coming.

Beyond that, we also have some “internally”-motivated features (money!). Actually, it’s not just money – we also want to push forward with our vision of where we see Ohloh going.

All of which leaves us with agonizing choices to make. Fix a bug? Implement a requested feature? Or push Ohloh forward?

As a partial remedy to this problem, we’re going to open up our service so that anyone can leverage our data and build on it. This will :

  • enable integration of ohloh data into any widgets, apps, etc…
  • address the problem that Ohloh is currently a data black hole (difficult to get data out)

So far, we are planning on creating a REST API on top of ohloh, enabling the ability get information on projects, accounts, stacks, etc… We would support XML and JSON out/in and also require a free API key that would limit the number of requests a day (to keep our servers reponsive).

What could one do with this?

I’m hoping you tell us. Off the top of my head, I imagine people might want to

  • track who has kudo’d them
  • write a doap converter
  • resurface project analytics into their own websites
  • enrich a user identity with Ohloh stats
  • derive your own data, like what is the most popular language in the UK?

While we’re still designing this feature, now is the time to pipe up and provide feedback and concerns. Thanks in advance!

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