Web services and API’s !!!

Thanks to API’s and web services we can now embed a video or anything that we wish to see displayed on our web page. But what exactly is API and how does it work for us? what is web service? below is my understanding on the API and web services.

Application Programming Interface (API) allows access to systems’ functionality without involving the consumer/user, the API allows a software to communicate with a remote application over the internet through a series of ‘call’. ( in short it allows other application to communicate with it) The call back between applications are managed by web services. Web service is a way of transferring information over the internet using Extensible Markup Language (XML) which is primarily aimed to be read by machines only. It should be noted that XML describe the content of a document while HTML provides instructions about the structure of a document.

One common example of API at work is the simple process of cut and paste from one Microsoft document to another.API’s are crafted to expose chosen functionality and/ or data while at the same time safeguarding other parts of the application which provides for the interface.

API’s along with JavaScript allow us to embed video, maps etc into the web page, for example Google map as shown below:

Isn’t the world of Technology amazing!!

Information Retrieval & Databases

I’m now beginning to get a hang of signing into wordpress and sharing what i’ve leaned, however limited this may appear to the readers…lol…this is purely work in progress…thanks to Ernesto..

Here is a very simplistic explanation of Information retrieval and databases is given, drawing from the readings of Bawden & Robinson (2012) and my classroom learning.

Information retrieval may be interpreted as the way in which information resources are obtained and are relevant to your information needs from a collection of stored data. The data may be either Unstructured or Semi-Structured data. Unstructured data usually refers to information that is not presented in a row-column database, examples of unstructured data includes text and multi-media content i.e, photos, email messages, videos etc. Whereas Semi-Structured data is a combination of structured and unstructured data and tags are used to identify certain elements within the data, there is no rigid structure.

I cannot write about information retrieval without making mention of data retrieval, Data retrieval is a means of obtaining  data from a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS), here, data is presented in a structured way and usually requires  Structured Query Language (SQL). Important to note that with RDBMS there is no repetition or duplication of  information.

Information Architecture

So i’m sitting in front of the PC, starting at the blank screen, thinking…come on Clyden, you have to type something that makes sense!. Moments like these (if you ever find yourself in a similar position) don’t dare glance over at your neighbour who is pounding away at his/her keyboard making writing a “Blog” appear so easy,  if not you would end up wishing you were in the wrong class. Yes, so now that i have made my anxiety about writing a blog page and posts clear, i would now attempt to share my first exposure to the world of  Digital Information Technologies & Architecture.

What exactly is Information Architecture? Well from my understanding IA cannot be summed up in a single phrase, however for this page i will define as follows and please feel free to correct or add to this because as i indicated this is my simple interpretation…here goes: IA have to do with the creation of a structure that organizes information, hence, making it accessible to users in what appears to be a user’s friendly environment, and of course before i got to that understanding i was asking myself..Isn’t that what the Web developer does? Yes! i was that naive. However, now i can be proudly inform you that the role of a web developer is different because the web developer builds the website using specific languages such as Javascript, XML, HTML etc, while on the other hand, IA deals with what goes where, that is, keeping information carefully organised and labeled, thus making navigation on a web site easy.

The first session made me recognized the difference between the internet and the World Wide Web (www), a web page and a web site, and further enhanced by knowledge base by learning about databases, document structures, character encoding, bytes and bits and of course, blogging!!…until next time..chao.