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Matteo Spreafico

Web Hooks / FrontPage - 0 views

  • The concept of a WebHook is simple. A WebHook is an HTTP callback: an HTTP POST that occurs when something happens; a simple event-notification via HTTP POST.
  • A web application implementing WebHooks will POST a message to a URL when certain things happen. When a web application enables users to register their own URLs, the users can then extend, customize, and integrate that application with their own custom extensions or even with other applications around the web. For the user, WebHooks are a way to receive valuable information when it happens, rather than continually polling for that data and receiving nothing valuable most of the time. WebHooks have enormous potential and are limited only by your imagination! (No, it can't wash the dishes. Yet.)
  • Push is the simplest of reasons to use WebHooks. As was just stated above, no more polling every couple of minutes to find out if there is new information. Just register a WebHook and receive the data at your doorstep as soon as it exists.
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  • A Pipe happens when your WebHook not only receives real-time data, but goes on to do something new and meaningful with it, triggering actions unrelated to the original event. For example, you create a script, register its URL at a photo site, and have it email you when your mother posts a new photo.
  • Plugins: processing data and giving something in return This is where the entire web becomes a programming platform. You can use this form of WebHooks to allow others to extend your application. Facebook's Application Platform uses WebHooks in this way, and so does Google Wave's robot integration. The general idea is that a web application sending out data via WebHooks will also use the response to modify its own data. At Facebook, when you access an app, Facebook sends a WebHook out to your application saying "Hey, someone's accessing your application, what do I do?!" The application responds with, "Show the user this page..." Facebook does so, and the pattern continues in the same manner as you continue to use the application. At Google Wave, when you do something in a wave, any robot you've added as a participant is notified via a WebHook, and the robot has the ability to modify the wave in its http response. Implement WebHooks in this way in your application if you want to allow others to truly extend and enhance the abilities of your application.
  • By letting the user specify a URL for various events, the application will POST data to those URLs when the events occur. With the cheap availability of PHP hosting and even easier simple app/script hosting like AppJet or Scriptlets, handling the POST data becomes fairly trivial. How you use it is up to you and whatever you want to accomplish.
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