The Yahoo! Music API and YQL

There are many different service pages on the Yahoo! Developer Network (YDN), like Updates, Placemaker, and Flickr. These pages outline our developer offerings and provide instruction on how to use our web services. While it's not uncommon for YDN to make changes to these pages, we don't normally blog about it. However, recently we did something a little bit different — and something that signals where we're heading with YDN this year.

Last week, we pushed changes to the service page for our popular Music API. On the new version of the page, we show how to use Yahoo! Query Language (YQL) to access music data. You've been able to access data via YQL for a while, but we are now strongly recommending to developers that YQL is the best way to use this API.

The main advantage of this YQL-based approach is easily demonstrated on the new page. In the past, we suggested reading the documentation first to gain an understanding of the API, before signing up for an API key. It was only then that you were ready to write some code, make some requests, and get some data.

This is now much easier. With YQL, you simply click on an example and you'll see the return data in the YQL console. Using the console, you can easily see the other data the YQL Data Table offers, change your query, and quickly learn how to use the service. In fact, we think it's so easy that reading the documentation is no longer essential.

YQL table example

And this change isn't just for Music. YQL will soon become the primary way to access all Yahoo! data services.

There are YQL Data Tables for nearly all Yahoo! services. So, over the next few weeks, we will be converting all service pages to this new YQL-based design. We are currently working on new pages for Updates, Contacts, Answers, BOSS and Delicious, with others to follow.

We're making this change because we believe that YQL is the easiest way to use web-services. Once you know how to use it for one service, you know the basics for how to use it for any and all Data Tables.

Of course, this principle doesn't just apply to Yahoo! APIs, YQL's Open Data Table definitions allow you to map YQL's syntax to almost any web-service. This includes those from Twitter, Google, Foursquare and many other 3rd-party web services.

If you are already using one of Yahoo's native (non-YQL) web-services, don't worry, nothing will be changing and your apps will continue to work. We do, however, suggest you check out the YQL table for that service. As well as being easier to use, YQL is faster, more scalable and has a vibrant developer community for when you need help. This is why we chose to build our powerful new Yahoo! Updates Firehose API on YQL.

So, check back over the next few weeks for the new-style service pages and in the mean time, we suggest you read more about YQL and how it can make the development of your apps quicker and easier.

Matthew Lock
Mathew Lock
Product Manager, Yahoo! Developer Network