Fun With Local Search APIs

It finally rained here in Phoenix yesterday after almost 150 days without rain. Once it started to come down, it didn’t let up until well after nightfall.

Since it was raining, I figured I’d stay in and work on something just for fun; a project that I would never normally work on because it doesn’t pay the bills. As I mentioned before in a previous post, I’m definitely not a programmer but I do enjoy figuring things out first-hand and on my own. To me programming is like solving a complex puzzle; even though I do get frustrated and lost frequently, I still enjoy it.

Anyway, awhile back I made a note in my scratchpad to play around with Yahoo’s Web Services API, but I haven’t had much time recently to sit down and actually focus long enough to learn. The easiest way for me to learn how to do something is to think of a project, real or fictional, and work towards creating my vision.

The project I decided on was to build a simple local search engine using Yahoo’s local search API. I started with the PHP version of the Yahoo Search Web Services SDK, version 1.2. The first example I opened was just a query text input with a select box for toggling between the available services, which are web, local, news, video, and image search. It served as a perfect starting point for the application. I searched the web and found a few great articles explaining how to work with the local services API, but thankfully the documentation provided by Yahoo solved just about every issue I ran into.

So, after about eight hours of watching movies/working I had a site up and running. I had a lot of fun, learned a lot, and now have my very own little local search engine. Now back to work that actually brings in the dough…


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