This was so powerful with people all over the world when I first posted it, however interest has trailed off significantly and continuously over time. I felt the need to re-post it. Now I’m not paranoid about online personas for I know that whatever is online is open like sending a public message for all to see. However many are not aware how and what is said on Facebook is open and available for all to see friend or foe and the Facebook API facilitates it.
What’s an API?
An API (Application Programming Interface) is best thought of as a contract provided by one piece of computer software to another.
It’s important to note that pieces of software can interact with or without an API.
An app finds the current weather in London by opening and reading the webpage like a human does, interpreting the content.
An app finds the current weather in London by sending a message to the API (in a structured format like JSON). The API then replies with a structured response.
With an API, the exact structure of request and response is documented upfront by, and is likely to remain constant, regardless of whether the website changes its look and feel for human visitors.
Without an API, my app relies on the website never changing its look. If it does, my app may stop working because it can’t parse (understand) the webpage anymore. Computers are only as smart as the software you write.
So, the example with API is preferable because it’s more robust. I know that my app will continue to work with theAPI, regardless of whether changes its website.
So check out and see what information Facebook makes public about its users via its search API.