Raplet API: new features, OAuth2, upcoming changes

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Martin Kleppmann

Feb 11, 2011, 4:55:51 PM2/11/11
to Raplet developers discussion list, Raplet developers announcement list
Hi Raplet developers,

Today we're releasing a new version (0.4) of the Raplet API. (It's been a while since our last update, so in case you were wondering: with Raplets, you can take data you have about people, and show it in Gmail next to your email conversations, using Rapportive.)

1. Documentation is now on the web

The documentation used to be a PDF file which we sent around by email. Now it's on the web, as it should be :)

We've taken the opportunity to actually make a nice developer site at code.rapportive.com, currently containing open source stuff we've released, and the Raplet API. More will be coming in future. In case you're really curious, the site is generated from a public git repository, which means you can do nice things like compare version 0.3 and 0.4 of the Raplet docs. If you spot any errors, you can just fork the repo, fix it and send us a pull request. (Of course you can simply email us, too.)

2. New features and deprecation in Raplets 0.4

We've added two substantial new features in this version:
  • A new configuration protocol, based on the draft OAuth2 spec, provides an elegant way to authenticate users of your Raplet and let them configure it (e.g. choosing which account to use) when it is added to Rapportive. It replaces the configuration parameters API, so please use the new protocol — it's quite simple, a lot more flexible and provides a better user experience than the old one (no more copying and pasting API tokens!). We will continue to support existing users of the deprecated API for at least another 12 months; if you're using it, please can you let us know, so that we don't break things unexpectedly.
  • Facilities to pass parameters to Raplets or update the Rapportive sidebar based on message contents. This is really useful if you're running a web app which sends notification emails. With a little bit of invisible HTML in your notification email, you can tell your Raplet what the email is about, and allow the user to interact with the notification; for example, you could close a support ticket or schedule a task directly from your inbox.
Also, we have written up guidelines for the kinds of things we look for in Raplets to be listed in our gallery at raplets.com.

3. Heads-up: upcoming changes

Just FYI, today we're deploying a substantial refactoring of the DOM and CSS in the Rapportive sidebar. If you've built your Raplet according to the docs, you should notice hardly any change (only minor visual tweaks, e.g. we're removing the annoying grey background when you hover over a raplet). If you're relying on undocumented behaviour, it's possible that some things render slightly differently. If this causes you any problems, please drop me an email at mar...@rapportive.com and I'll help you fix it right away.

This refactoring is in preparation for a sidebar redesign which we'll be launching into private beta in the coming weeks. We want to make more efficient use of screen space by allowing users to expand or collapse sections of the sidebar. The redesign will be fully backwards-compatible: your Raplets will continue to work, but there will also be additional APIs to allow you to take advantage of the new UI features. I'll be in touch about these changes in due course.

That's it for now — thanks! As usual, if we can help in any way, feel free to email the list at raple...@googlegroups.com, or email us privately at suppo...@rapportive.com.


Martin Kleppmann
Co-founder, Rapportive

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