Google Gadget Update & PatREST changes

I’ve made a little update to two of the PatREST Google gadgets (top and new items)–partly due to the insistance of a certain Superpatron, but mostly because I was planning on doing it anyway.

The new versions allow users to display cover images along with the records. A new option gives you the choice of text only, images only, or images and text. Not a major change, but noteworthy. Also, in case you missed the update in my previous post, the new items gadget can now match subject headings–useful if you want to be notified about new items on a particular topic.

For the purposes of the Talis mashup competition (for the judges), the original xml files are still available under a different name (tops-v1.xml and new-v1.xml). Everyone else, here are the new ones:

(FYI, it’s the same URL as the previous version. If you’ve already added it to your Google page, the update will be automatic)

While working on this little project, I became painfully aware of PatREST’s limitations when dealing with asynchronous execution — like that of Google gadgets. I previously thought it would be better to limit the amount of data returned in an XML hit-list and use a second record query for and detailed info. I think I may have been a little short-sighted. At any rate, the lesson learned is that the more practical experience I have with PatREST, the more I’ll know what works and what doesn’t.

The upshot of all this is that I’ve expanded the result objects in any PatREST function that returns multiple records to include more information, such as ISBN, cover image, author, and record link. For those asynchronous folks, this will make life a lot easier. The new additions have been added to an updated specification. Existing PatREST applications (I don’t think there are many at this point) will continue to work, of course.

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