Does WikiTree have an API?

+8 votes
856 views

Does WikiTree have a programming API? I am a member of the FamilySearch Developer Network (https://devnet.familysearch.org) and would like to explore ways to connect FamilySearch and WikiTree together.

in WikiTree Tech by James Davis G2G Crew (910 points)
recategorized by Chris Whitten

2 Answers

+3 votes
Hi James.

Great to hear from you.

We don't have an API yet but it's definitely on the to-do list, as is connecting with FamilySearch.

Do you want to talk about ideas? What are you thinking about?

Chris
by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)

Chris, if possible, I would like to lend my programming skills to help develop WikiTree. I would love to talk about ideas. Some things I have been thinking about:

  • WikiTree mobile app
  • a more advanced tree browser (think Web 2.0: AJAX, JavaScript display libraries, etc.)
  • ways to make it easier to pull data in from online resources (i.e. FamilySearch)
  • ability to generate maps showing family migration (using i.e. Google Maps)
  • standardized place names
  • standardized citation format
  • ability to display larger descendant lists
  • ability to display larger family trees
  • more easily sharable trees, ancestor lists, etc.
  • better social media integration (a Facebook App?)

These are just what I can think of off the top of my head, but I think of stuff all the time. I'll start writing them down when I think of them. ;)

I'd love to help implement some of these things!

James, any and all of that would be awesome. I'd love to get your help.

Are you familiar with Dallan Quass's work? I think we could build on what he's done in some of these areas. The adaptations for WikiTree might be relatively simple, at least as compared to building from scratch.

I assume you know WikiTree isn't open source? See http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/WikiTree_FAQ for the explanation and rationale. That doesn't mean that certain functions can't be open source or that we can't work with volunteers. It just makes it a bit more complicated.

I do know a little bit about Dallan Quass's work (and will look at it in more detail).

I was in the process of writing you an email when I saw your reply here. I hadn't seen that part of the FAQ, but I had already assumed WikiTree was not open source (and I totally understand why). I agree 100% with the rationale. My email will discuss this issue further. Anyways, my email is forthcoming.

James,

I took your list above and added it to http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Project_talk:WikiTree_Enhancements along with my comments on each item. Check it out.

We haven't done much with the "WikiTree Enhancements" Project yet but it's potentially a good forum for our discussions.

Chris

It doesn't look like much has happened here since Sept. Given the new changes in 'Find Pending Merges', I think it might be easier to automate some of the functionality than to continue to do things manually. I wasnt' aware of Dillan Quaas' work or rootsdev but I can definitely build upon that to help WikiTree.

The specific things I'd like to do are:

1. From a starting profile, find all direct ancestors, siblings, and spouses. Find those who are not in the trusted list.
2. From a trusted list and pending merges, find merges with no parents or matching parents. Sort by dob. Find merges that are waiting on my approval.
3. Clean up the biography, marking fields as certain/uncertain based on accuracy.
4. Google, RootsWeb, Ancestry, familysearch search results
5. Find profiles with missing birth/death dates and locations, fix them.
6. Validate each location name against an external API (google maps? Quaas?)
7. Find older profiles that should be open, newer profiles that should be private.
8. Load into SQL database, run SQL queries for #5, 7.
9. GEDCOM - filter out private and/or living data from export.
10. Provide a Web API (REST webservice) to return data for a profile, navigate relationships, show trusted list, and show pending merges (optionally filtered by trusted list).

Whatever work I do I could put on github, just like Dillan, so that all could share (if that's OK with Chris since it would interface with WikiTree through queries).

Questions for Chris:

- Does WikiTree have the ability to host Java (servlet) applicatons, since all of his code is written in Java (my language of choice)?

- If you did provide a web (REST / JSON) API, what would it look like? Patterned after other APIs from FamilySearch, Geni, MyHeritage?
This is great, Bob! I'm psyched that you want to move ahead. I'll try to give you whatever you need.

We haven't developed the API yet because we haven't had a specific use case. Just some general plans and leads, and one internal use we were considering. We can figure this out with you.

We were thinking that the API might use FamilySearch's new GEDCOM X format.

In whatever we do, with APIs or anything hosted, server usage is going to be an important concern. Our servers are constantly getting overloaded. It would be easy to come up with applications that put a real burden on things.

For example, we only show five generations at a time on trees and descendant lists. We only go 10 generations back with our relationship finder. We only allow 5,000-person GEDCOMs for GEDMatching. Etc. It wouldn't make sense to impose these strict limits internally but then have external applications doing them. :-)
+4 votes

It does now! Take a look here:

http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/API_Documentation

by Frank Latour G2G Crew (540 points)
Thanks for pointing that out, Jeroen.

And, thanks to you, our Apps group has an open source code repository for collaboration at https://github.com/wikitree
Can I add people via a wikitree API?
Hi E.T.,

No, not yet, and no time soon. Making additions from outside applications could be tricky. The apps would have to fit with how the community works.

Chris

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