The Sorry State of Affairs in Weblog APIs

In his post Maybe a better posting api is needed  James Robertson writes

I’ve had harsh words to say about Atom in the past, but that was mostly over the feed format. I haven’t looked at the posting API yet – maybe I should. The Blogger API and the MetaqWebLog API are simply nightmares. There doesn’t seem to be any standard way for client tools to interact with a server – I was debugging the interaction between a client and my server last night via IRC. Even better – the client was set to use the MetaWebLog api, but was sending requests to blogger.apiNameHere names. Sheesh. There was also an interesting difference in api points – I had implemented ‘getUserBlogs’, and the client was sending ‘getUsersBlogs’. A quick Google search turned up references to both. Sigh.

I implemented both names, pointing to the same method. I had to map blogger names over to MetaWebLog entry points, at least for the tool being tested last night – who knows what oddness will turn up next. What a complete mess…

I’ve been similarly stunned by the complete and utter mess the state of weblogging APIs is in. As I mentioned in my post What Blog Posting APIs are supported by MSN Spaces? one of my duties at work is to investigate the options and design the blogging API story for MSN Spaces. In doing this, I have discovered all the issues James Robertson brought up and more. Mark Pilgrim has an ApacheCon presentation entitled The Atom API which highlights some of the various issues. One of the lowlights from his presentation is the fact that the MetaWeblog API spec significantly contradicts itself by stating that the data model of structs passed between client and server is based on RSS 2.0 then includes examples of requests and responses that show that it clearly isn’t.

My personal favorite bit of information that can only be discovered by trial and error is the existence of the blogger.deletePost method which isn’t listed in the Blogger API documentation but is supported by a number of blog posting clients and weblog servers.

I can’t believe that anyone who wants to write a client or server that uses the standard weblogging APIs has to go through this crap. It almost makes me want to go join in the atom-protocol discussions. Almost.

Comments (4)

  1. So, given that I’m writing a client/server blog tool, what would you recommend to implement?

  2. I agree. I have found that there is a .NET library called BlogLib ( that at least makes some things easier depending on the blog engine and comes with the source. The library uses XML-RPC ( This is what I am using to start my PPC blogging/podcasting tool.

  3. Nick Swan says:

    ah the fun of MetaWeblog API! I had loads of hair pulling evenings while doing my PPC blogging app. Then when I had it done someone suggested checking out this up and coming standard API called Atom! Grrrrr.

    Anyway, shameless plug, here’s a link to pocket blogger: