Your First API Assignment: The Times Newswire

Our first full data visualization project will be an attempt get everyone familiar with the joys and frustrations of using data APIs. The quality/documentation for different APIs varies from “Wow this is so clear and well documented” to “I can’t believe this even works, I have no idea what is going on or how to do things”. Be forewarned, with data APIs your mileage will definitely vary.

We are going to explore one of the best (IMO), well documented APIs out there today, the New York Times API. This resource is extremely organized, well documented and simple to use. It not only offers several formats of data (XML, JSON, Serialized PHP) but has an extremely useful tool that lets you try/execute your queries without writing any code.

We have already looked over the site in class, now the challenge is yours. Sign up for an API key for the Newswire API and create your first full data visualization. Next week I will be helping everyone in class but I really want you all to try to figure out the basics on your own. Every API is different and you’ll have to get used to poking around and figuring things out for future assignments.

Please come into class with an understanding of the Newswire API, a basic concept for what you want to visualize and basic sketches of this idea. We will have a work session in class so come ready to work and ask questions.

As always I’m available during the week by email if any of this is unclear.

Good luck and can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

The Times API Link:
http://developer.nytimes.com/

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