- Paperback: 46 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (March 10, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1449303145
- ISBN-13: 978-1449303143
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,301,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Data Source Handbook: A Guide to Public Data 1st Edition
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About the Author
A former Apple engineer, Pete Warden is the founder of OpenHeatMap, and writes on large-scale data processing and visualization
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Top customer reviews
For each public data source listed in the book, the description is a title, a short paragraph describing the data source, and a URL or curl request. In some cases a json or xml response from the service is shown. This level of detail is disappointing and uninteresting (IMHO).
In the preface the author references a website listing public sources of information, [...]. The API directory on this website contains far more sources of data than this book (which lists about 57 or so). My advice would to someone looking for public data sources would be to start at that website and not to waste money on this book.
As many of the other reviewers have mentioned, the book consists of a title of the source, a paragraph about the source's limitations or API results, and a code snippet.
This book is not for beginners as Warden expects you to understand RESTful APIs and know how to use XML outputs.
A better use for the 46 (that's FORTY-SIX) pages would be as an appendix to a comprehensive guide to data mining or building a data product. The thing that kills me is that Warden has built a product using publicly available data. Why not write a book on that, which leads to inspiring others on how to build such a product.
In the end, do not buy this book. If you really must see the contents, request the book on inter-library loan.
While reading through the book generated some thoughts on where this data could potentially be useful, in the end I found this book disappointing. Many of the sites/APIs discussed are limited in terms of function, volume or stability; most of them could be discovered with a Google query. For example, the (US) National Weather Service section provides a working example using curl, but the NWS site itself provides multiple client examples in various languages. The NWS site would also be updated as their interfaces change, not necessarily true of the book.
The ebook version provides links to the author's blog for additional information. Unfortunately the blog itself doesn't seem to have a segregated page or segment dedicated to the book.
At a low price point, a book of this size (ebook version is 30 pages) could be useful if you're just looking for something to explore new concepts. Otherwise, probably not a good value.
Disclaimer, I was provided access to an electronic copy of this book by O'Reilly Publishing for purposes of review.
The brief reviews and code for each source includes those which use REST/JSON, YQL and other languages.
Overall the book is a very practical guide for programmers wanting to integrate public data into their websites or creating mashups. However, the book lacks any data sources related to health although many existing on the web from PubMed to ClinicalTrials.gov.
and there is not enough value for the price that it has been sold for ... there is nothing special in this book that anyone who are interested in apis dont already know I gave it one star only for the cover design
For the listed data sources the author has included notes on any specifics that might be of interest. Such things as rate limits, costs for metered data retrieval and terms of service that are overly restrictive are notated when applicable. While the book provides a short summary of each service there are numerous links that lead to more in depth information. For developers using open API's to access data this book will provide a valuable quick reference. It should be noted that this book requires programming knowledge to be useful. Familiarity with REST, JSON and XML are going to be prerequisites to utilizing the potential in the Data Source Handbook. For those within the scope of the target audience, developers and programmers, this book will be a useful tool. It is not a tutorial on the subject of open API's. However, for developers needing a quick overview, this is a good choice.
Disclosure: I received a free ebook copy for review.