Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz's A Programmable Web

An Unfinished Work

Aaron Swartz
ISBN: 9781627051699 | PDF ISBN: 9781627051699
Copyright © 2013 | 66 Pages | Publication Date: February, 2013

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This short work is the first draft of a book manuscript by Aaron Swartz written for the series "Synthesis Lectures on the Semantic Web" at the invitation of its editor, James Hendler. Unfortunately, the book wasn't completed before Aaron's death in January 2013. As a tribute, the editor and publisher are publishing the work digitally without cost.

From the author's introduction:

" . . . we will begin by trying to understand the architecture of the Web -- what it got right and, occasionally, what it got wrong, but most importantly why it is the way it is. We will learn how it allows both users and search engines to co-exist peacefully while supporting everything from photo-sharing to financial transactions.

We will continue by considering what it means to build a program on top of the Web -- how to write software that both fairly serves its immediate users as well as the developers who want to build on top of it. Too often, an API is bolted on top of an existing application, as an afterthought or a completely separate piece. But, as we'll see, when a web application is designed properly, APIs naturally grow out of it and require little effort to maintain.

Then we'll look into what it means for your application to be not just another tool for people and software to use, but part of the ecology -- a section of the programmable web. This means exposing your data to be queried and copied and integrated, even without explicit permission, into the larger software ecosystem, while protecting users' freedom.

Finally, we'll close with a discussion of that much-maligned phrase, 'the Semantic Web,' and try to understand what it would really mean."

Table of Contents

A Programmable Web
Building for Users: Designing URLs
Building for Search Engines: Following REST
Building for Choice: Allowing Import and Export
Building a Platform: Providing APIs
Building a Database: Queries and Dumps
Building for Freedom: Open Data, Open Source
Conclusion: A Semantic Web?

About the Author(s)

Aaron Swartz
Aaron Hillel Swartz (November 8, 1986 - January 11, 2013) was an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, writer, political organizer, and Internet hacktivist. He was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS and the Markdown publishing format, the organization Creative Commons, the website framework web.py, and the social news site Reddit, in which he became a partner after its merger with his company, Infogami. - from Wikipedia

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