Calling all developers!
We are proud to announce the release of our new API, now available at niaid.github.io/3dpx_api, with additional information available from our website, at 3Dprint.nih.gov/developer. The API was created by partners at Squishymedia,
What is an API?, you ask? Kin Lane, the API Evangelist, provides a great overview in his "API 101." In a nutshell, APIs expose the internal workings of a website, app, or devices, to allow other sites, apps, and devices to communicate to transfer data or import functions. In particular, they let the public use data and code in new ways, and that is a good thing for everyone -- because you never know what innovative and useful new things can be created by ingenious people with different perspectives than our own!
Our "Read" API allows users to pull information from our database of 3D models (if the license applied allows for redistribution) into an app or a piece of software, or as a bulk download. The "Write" API is in development, and will allow for authentication into our site for automated or bulk importing. For example, one way to use the Write API is to automate the process of adding new 3D models from entries in the Protein Data Bank or other scientific structure databases. Or perhaps you could upload your protein structure directly to our database by clicking a button in Chimera.
Credit also goes to GSA's 18F for supporting the documentation process, and for adding our API to api.data.gov. Funding came from the Ventures intiatives from the HHS IDEALab. We especially thank Bryan Sivak, Read Holman, and Julie Herron for encouraging us to create this API.
We are especially proud to have gotten some praise from the API Evangelist, for making our API simple and easy to use. This is one of the first APIs available from The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and our first public contribution to GitHub.com. We are hoping in future to share code from other products developed by the NIAID Office of Cyber Infrastructure and Computational Biology's (OCICB) Bioinformatics and Computational Biosciences Branch (BCBB).