I just noticed over on the del.icio.us blog that my data is available as JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) by following a simple URL like: http://del.icio.us/feeds/json/inkdroid.

Essentially you just load the URL as javascript source in your HTML:

<script type=“text/javascript” src=“http://del.icio.us/feeds/json/inkdroid?count=20”></script>

and voila you’ve magically got a new javascript array variable Delicious.posts, each element of which is a hash describing your link on delicious. It’s a very elegant (and simple) technique…much more elegant than that taken in the XML::RSS::JavaScript module which I helped create. It’s so elegant in fact that I got it working off to the side of this page in 2 minutes. I downloaded the python and ruby extensions for working with JSON just to take a look. The python version is a pleasant read, especially the unittests! The ruby version is a lesson in minimalism:

jsonobj = eval(json.gsub(/(["'])\s*:\s*(['"0-9tfn\[{])/){"#{$1}=>#{$2}"})

Now, if I were to use this I’d probably put a wrapper around it :-) Although it’s less minimalistic I think I prefer the explicitness of the python code. I’ve been digging into Ruby a bit more lately as I work on ruby-marc, and while I’m really enjoying the language I tend to shy away from one line regex hacks like this…which more often than not turn out to be a pain to extend and maintain.

I first heard of JSON from Mike Rylander at the open-ils project who are using JSON heavily in the opensource library catalog that they are developing for the state of Georgia. It is nice to see library technologists leading the curve.