Category Archives: API

New England GiveCamp 2013 This Weekend

I’ll be attending New England GiveCamp 2013 this weekend.

GiveCamp is a way for technical people and designers to donate their time to worthy nonprofits. Organized by Jim O’Neil and Kelley Muir and hosted at Microsoft’s New England Research and Development center on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus, New England GiveCamp is in its fourth year.

This year I’ll again be working with The Esplanade Association. Last year, I was the leader of the team that revamped their website. It’s a real pleasure to work with them again.

Over the weekend, we’ll be working on an interactive map, probably built on the Google Maps API, of the Esplanade’s many amenities and features. The fellows assigned to this task are already full of ideas and getting to work, so once again, I’ve been very fortunate to have highly motivated, very capable team members assigned to our task.

It’s probably going to be another hectic, exciting weekend. Can’t wait!

All links in this post on delicious:

Displaying Selected YouTube Data API Thumbnails On A Web Page Via ASP.NET Web Forms

Previously, I blogged about “Displaying Selected YouTube Video Thumbnails On An ASP.NET Web Forms Page,” when you know the video IDs of the thumbnails you want to hyperlink.

A reader recently asked me how to hyperlink YouTube video thumbnails based on searching for a keyword. I promised to address that, so here goes.

Interestingly enough, searching the YouTube Data API is accomplished in a REST-like manner quite similar to the methodology I used for shortening URLs in ASP.NET via the API.

  • Form a simple request URL to the YouTube Data API that contains the appropriate search parameters;
  • Use a WebRequest to send that URL to Google, which returns an XML document with results;
  • Use WebResponse to dump that stream into an XmlDocument;
  • Use XPath and XmlNode‘s SelectNodes method to recursively get the thumbnails from each entry; and
  • Bind up a pile of Hyperlink controls, which are added dynamically to a Panel control.

Sounds more complicated than it actually is. Let’s do it.
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Displaying Selected YouTube Video Thumbnails On An ASP.NET Web Forms Page

I received a kind email recently from a reader, thanking me for my article titled “Retaining Values In A Form Following PHP Postback And Clearing Form Values After Successful PHP Form Processing“.

He also asked how he could use the YouTube Data API to search for videos by keyword; display thumbnails of those videos on an ASP.NET page; then either hyperlink to those videos on YouTube, or display them on his page via the YouTube Player API.

I’ll address that specific question in an upcoming post. First, I want to show how to do what the questioner asks if you already know the video IDs of specific YouTube videos you want to show on a page.

If you know the video ID(s) for the YouTube videos you want to display on a page, you can call them directly from YouTube’s image servers, thanks to a predictable URL and naming scheme, and hotlinking.
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Working With Server Integration Method (SIM) Payment Gateway, Part 2: Proper Form Design

The most important step in using the Server Integration Method (SIM) payment gateway is properly designing your ordering system / shopping cart, well before you ever request payment.

Let me repeat that: If you want a secure, sensible and error-free checkout experience, you need to design a storefront that makes those things possible. Just as it is with building a house, if the foundation is crap, it won’t stand up to a storm.

I promised in a recent post to show how to properly send transaction requests to SIM. So, here’s the first step: An overview of best practices, and a sample order form that follows them.

Let me offer this, right up front: If your Web sales are casual — say, you want to let people buy annual banquet tickets online, or you sell a couple coffee mugs / T-shirts each week — you should seriously consider using a third-party turnkey solution.

The legal, practical and technical requirements of running your own ecommerce solution generally aren’t worth the hassle if you’re not doing a significant volume of sales.

I like EventBrite for handling ticket sales and CafePress for selling merchandise. There are other storefront options out there, but those are ones I have used and found reliable.

That said, there are circumstances where low-volume sellers still need custom ecommerce solutions. So, with that in mind, let’s cover the basics of making a secure, simple ordering system.
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