Press Room

Press Release: March 21, 2011

O'Reilly Media and Fluidinfo Celebrate New Writable API with a Contest

Sebastopol, CAO'Reilly Media and Fluidinfo are proud to announce a new alignment that might change how publishers store and control information about books, authors, and even the habits of readers. Using Fluidinfo's writable Application Programming Interface (API), O'Reilly invites developers to create new applications, mashups, and discoveries based on its API metadata for a chance to win one of three prizes.

O'Reilly general manager and publisher Joe Wikert is excited by the opportunities that a writable API provides to O'Reilly and other publishers. "It's like LEGOs for publishing," he says of the new malleability in his industry. "It's as though we've been selling plastic children's toys and the pieces were all glued together so customers could only use them the way we intended them to be used," he adds. "Now we've decided to break the pieces into their component parts and let customers build whatever they want."

To give a few simple examples of how a writable API could be used, a developer could tag book objects to indicate that a user owns or is reading them; add users' current page numbers; add links to the book elsewhere; or add the author's Twitter name, a link to their profile on LinkedIn, or a tag to show that the author is known by a user or is someone the user would like to meet.

To celebrate Fluidinfo's new writable API for O'Reilly, the two companies are holding a contest for developers to find creative new ways to use O'Reilly's metadata.

Following are three criteria for entrants to consider:

  • Best use of the basic O'Reilly book and author data, such as building a new user interface to books and authors.
  • Most interesting data added to the Fluidinfo book and/or author objects.
  • Best mashup of original and new data.

This contest, regrettably open to U.S. residents only*, runs Monday, March 21, 2011, through midnight PST on Sunday, April 10, 2011. Judging will be handled by O'Reilly Media founder Tim O'Reilly, O'Reilly GM Joe Wikert, and O'Reilly editor Mike Loukides.

Three prizes will be awarded:

  • The grand prize is a conference package in which the winner gets a full pass to the Open Source Conference (OSCON) in Portland, OR., this July including air fare and hotel accommodation.
  • Second prize is the choice of a fully loaded iPad 2 or the Android Xoom tablet, depending on the winner's preference.
  • Third prize is $500 USD-worth of O'Reilly Media ebooks and videos.

To learn more about the contest, see:

To learn more about the writable API, see:

For a more thorough examination of why writable APIs can benefit all publishers, see:

For interview requests or for more information about O'Reilly's new alignment with Fluidinfo and its writable API, contact Gretchen Giles at or (707) 827-7136.

*Unfortunately, the rules state that the contest is "VALID IN THE 50 UNITED STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ONLY." Apparently, there are about 195 countries in the world and, try as we might, we couldn't convince our lawyers to conjure up the legal magic necessary to draft rules for each of them; things are sticky enough between the boundaries within the United States. We're really sorry on this one!

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