Inside the new Launchpad web service API

If you’ve been wanting to integrate Launchpad into your development tools, or create scripts that read and write Launchpad’s dataset, your wait is over. We’ve released the initial version of our RESTful web service API to the beta testing team. Now you can integrate with Launchpad using our Python library or by making simple HTTP requests.

No longer will you need to screen-scrape or write scripts that pretend to be a web browser; your programs will be able to communicate directly with Launchpad. Our support for OAuth means your users can delegate a subset of their Launchpad privileges to your program or website, without handing over their Launchpad pasword.

Right now, the web service provides basic access to Launchpad’s people and bugs. We’re working now to expose more of Launchpad’s data–projects, milestones, and so on–and to improve the usability of the Python client. Once we’ve stabilized the framework, we’ll open up the web service API to everyone. In the meantime, you can try it out by joining the Launchpad Beta Testers team. Once you’re on the team, you can get started by visiting the help homepage.

Our Python library, launchpadlib, works as a “web service browser”. You can use it to navigate the web service from a Python script, the way you surf the Launchpad website from your web browser. You don’t need any special knowledge of web services to use launchpadlib; you can write natural-looking code like this:

>>> me = launchpad.people['my-username']
>>> me.display_name = 'My new display name'
>>> me.lp_save()

We’ll be improving launchpadlib and the web service simultaneously; this is just the beginning.

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