RESTful and HTTP APIs in Pyramid Transcripts
Chapter: What is REST?
Lecture: Example service: Basecamp

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0:01 The other example of http service that I want to talk about has to do with basecamp.
0:06 So a basecamp is like a project management system
0:08 you've probably heard of it, it is actually most notable
0:10 for being the thing that was created from which Ruby on Rails was extracted
0:15 so David Heienmeier Hansson and some other guys created basecamp
0:18 and they said oh, as part of creating this project,
0:21 there is this really cool thing that we've created with Ruby
0:23 and we'll pull them out, we'll call that Ruby on Rails, right,
0:26 we're not talking about Ruby now, but it is notable for that.
0:29 So these guys have been building web apps for a long time
0:31 and they have an interesting take on APIs and I think it's generally really well done
0:36 but it's also interesting on how it's different than many other things.
0:40 So let's go down here, so here's the Basecamp 3 API,
0:44 it says well how is this different, every request must end in .json that's interesting,
0:49 they are also using oauth 2 here, and they've renamed
0:52 what used to be called projects to basecamps, okay.
0:55 Now, notice all of the requests have this access token
1:00 authorization, bearer and then the value of the token,
1:03 you can see down here they actually give you an example,
1:06 well, not much of a token, huh.
1:08 But they show you how to store it in your account.
1:10 Ok, so let's go look at how they use this API to interact with projects
1:14 or what they've renamed to basecamps,
1:16 so we can get a basecamp, we can get all of them, plural,
1:19 we can get a singular one, we can create, update or trash one.
1:22 Now, check this out, so they're going to do a get against /projects
1:26 they haven't changed the name because
1:28 I guess that would be too much to ask for people to change their urls,
1:31 so /get/projects but they've decided that everything is going to be json
1:35 and they want to be extra, extra explicit about it,
1:38 so they've had you put a .json on.
1:41 Now, you might say well that's kind of weird, right,
1:45 that doesn't follow the rules and the thing is when you're making services,
1:47 there are no rules, that's cool, it's wonderful actually,
1:51 you get to make the rules, right, they've decided this is how
1:53 you're going to interact with our web service, here's the rules right.
1:57 So what they have decided is .json goes on the end
1:59 maybe later there's a .xml, unlikely, but possible I guess.
2:03 So you do this get and of course you get json back,
2:06 you get a list of json objects, all the basecamps, projects.
2:10 You can get a singular one, these are specified by id
2:14 really more like this id, but you would get something like this,
2:17 you would say /projects/projectid.json okay.
2:22 That's again a get, let's look down here when I create one
2:25 I am going to do a post to projects json
2:28 and this is a minimal amount of data you have to pass through, right.
2:32 You might get an error, you will probably get a 201 created, that's solid,
2:35 but you might get a 507 insufficient storage,
2:38 in the case where your account is out of projects;
2:42 one of the ways you pay for basecamp is you buy different tiers,
2:45 and those different tiers have a different number of projects available to them
2:48 so instead of just crashing or something, say not ok,
2:51 they say 507 insufficient storage, and they pass back an error.
2:56 That's pretty cool I think, if we want to update one,
2:58 we're going to do a put to that location, again 200 is returned
3:02 because they give back the value, if you want to delete it you just do a delete
3:06 again to that same url, and this time 204 no content is returned
3:11 if that thing works out ok, if you are able to delete it.
3:14 So that gives you a good sense for the basecamp API,
3:18 I really like their API quite a bit, I'm not sure I'm sold on this .json
3:23 but like I said, it's their world they are going to make their own rules.
3:26 If they want .json, that's what they get.
3:28 But yeah, it's a good API, it's here on github,
3:31 you can check it out just basecamp/bc3-api and you could play around.