It can be frustrating to imagine a project that feels just a bit out of reach, particularly when it is a small one. I’ve been interested in APIs recently (well, who hasn’t, I guess) and have wondered how I could learn more about creating one. One aspect of APIs that has piqued my interest has been the example set by Tim Sherratt (@wragge and Wragge Labs) and his open minded, open ended work on the Trove Newspaper API. I like the idea that a community of users works to improve upon and expand services that are in someway essential but perhaps lacking a full set of features or functions.
An immediate and concrete example came to mind today when I was updating information about Chicago Public Schools schools in my Access database and thought, “Boy, I wish I could send out a request from the database to an API and ask ‘Hey, what do you know about this school’.” CPS already has a competent school finder tool on their site. One nice thing about it, particularly for my needs, is that it contains rich information about school type and grade levels.