Getting Started with Mastodon's Conversations API


A threaded conversation. You can see the order in which people have replied to each other - and what posts they are referencing.

The social network service "Mastodon" allows people to publish posts. People can reply to those posts. Other people can reply to those replies - and so on. What does that look like in the API? Here's a quick guide to the concepts you need to know - and some code to help you visualise conversations. […]

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Searching online for books in local libraries


List of items matching the search "Song of Achilles" - includes two versions of the book, an audio book, and other work by the author.

This is a mixture of lament and how-to guide. Suppose you've reviewed lots of books. It's pretty easy to generate a link to let people buy the book at Amazon or any other online store. But how do you link to a user's local library? You can't. There is no "search every library in the […]

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What's your API's "Time To 200"?


M'colleague Charles has introduced me to the most spectacular phrase - "Time To 200". That's a measurement of the length of time it takes a new user to go from signing up to your API to getting their first HTTP 200 response. Think about the last time you started using a new API... Fill in […]

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Are APIs Elitist?


Binary code displayed on a screen.

(This post written partly to tease my delightful colleague Charles, but also as a way of thinking about user needs.) During a recent Open Data Café, one of the guests made an entirely reasonable point. An API only method of getting data is elitist. Already having my assumptions tested - are APIs elitist? food for […]

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How to track down the original owners of stolen Twitter accounts


The Twitter logo drawn in circles.

Recently, one of the accounts I follow on Twitter was hijacked. It was turned into a PS5 giveaway scam. The people who hijacked the account changed the name, avatar, and deleted all the previous Tweets. Here's how I found who the original owner was, and managed to contact them. A Twitter account has a screen […]

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Disintermediate The State


The "That's a paddling" meme - saying "Renew your goose tax? That's an API!"

As part of my MSc, I'm being asked to think about "digital disruption" - so here are some personal thoughts about the future of transactions with the state. The UK Government has a lot of APIs to let computers communicate with each other. Most of them are department-to-department. For example, the Ministry of Birds wants […]

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WordPress's undocumented stats API


WordPress console showing a JSON output.

This blog runs on WordPress. Using their JetPack plugin, I get fairly detailed stats on views and visitors. But, bizarrely, the API is undocumented. Well, sort of... Let me explain: Just Show Me The Code Here's the API call to get a year's worth of data about your blog. https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1.1/sites/shkspr.mobi::blog/stats/visits ?unit=day &date=2021-01-03 &quantity=365 &stat_fields=views%2Cvisitors' Replace […]

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Introducing - On This Day in Twistory


A list of columns with Tweets in them.

One of the things I loved about Facebook was its "On This Day" feature. There's something delightful about seeing what nonsense you were talking about on this day a decade ago. Twitter doesn't have anything like that. So I built it. Introducing - Twistory.ml Stick your @ name in, hit the big button, and you'll […]

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Moneyed - a personal OpenBanking API


API Token generation screen.

After writing about how to use MoneyDashboard's unofficial API, the good folk at Moneyed told me about their officially supported API! So here's a quick review & howto guide. Moneyed is a slightly strange service. I think it is designed for companies to give as a benefit to their employees. But you can sign up […]

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Unofficial MoneyDashboard Neon API


A tiny lego Storm Trooper eats a chocolate coin.

Yesterday, I wrote up how to use the MoneyDashboard Classic API. Read that blog post first before reading this one. MoneyDashboard have launched a new "Neon" service. The API is a bit more simple, but authentication is harder. Here's a quick guide to the bits of the API that I found useful. I've lightly redacted […]

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