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Netflix Releases REST API

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The Netflix team has released the Netflix API and according to the Netflix Blog,

The Netflix API allows access to data for over 100,000 movie and TV episode titles on DVD as well Netflix account access on a member's behalf. The Netflix API gives developers the ability to create new and novel applications using Netflix data for Netflix members or movie fans in general.

As mentioned in the developer API blog, Netflix supplies three sets of API components:

  • JavaScript API - The JavaScript API is a simple API that has been optimized to help you emulate the Netflix experience in your application.
  • REST Programming API - A set of REST (representational state transfer) APIs to give you fine-grained access to such Netflix resources as the title catalog, user queues, and rental activity.
  • Atom feeds - The Atom feeds provide a means for enabling non-subscriber users to read Netflix feed data such as subscriber queues. Feeds are accessed via the REST API.

The Netflix authentication methods are based on the OAuth Core 1.0 protocol. Developers can use the full strength of OAuth or can use less stringent methods where OAuth is not needed.

According to Subrahmanyam aka Subbu, who currently develops standards, patterns and practices for designing HTTP/REST web services at Yahoo!,

This is first API that I came across that has linking stated so prominently. Kudos to the Netflix team.

The API is RESTful and follows a set of conventions, and as Subbu points out, is

Designed to be resource centric, the API keeps the data references for resources in the URL path, to the right of the host name, and uses links to tie together related resources. Method information goes into the standard HTTP verbs.

He notes that "there are a few odd wrinkles in the API that I wish are not there" but concedes that "When compared to other APIs out there, these are very minor issues".

Other than the detailed API documentation, there is also a nice step-by-step guide by Joseph Smarr.

Be sure to check out the details of API of the Netflix developer site.


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