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First Experience with Web Services

When I first started programming with Microsoft .Net (1.0 Framework) I had a strong desire to learn how search engines indexed web sites. At that time I was a working as a search engine spammer creating web pages to generate traffic for specific themes for various clients. One way I attempted to better understand .Net was to build a web spider that analyzed web pages on demand. An example of the spider is hosted at AddLinkz.com.

After my spider was built I had no real idea what I could/should do with it until I found the MSN Search API. I used this web service to compare its results with my spider. Additionally, I used the API to feed my .Net web spider new URLs from the API based on specific search terms. MSN’s search API was very easy to use, I just had to request information by calling a web URL with parameters via a Get request and the results were returned in XML. At that time all requests were limited to XML responses and a maximum of 1,000 results per query. 

Since then the entire API has gone through several reconstructions, rebranding and new search services.  Microsoft’s new Bing API replaced the older MSN search API and added several new search capabilities. These new features allow search data to be returned for web searches, image searches, new searches, and related search terms to name a few.

Bing API Version 2.0 SourceTypes

  • Web
    • Searches for web content Sushi
  • Image
    • Searches for images on the web Sushi
  • News
    • Searches news stories Sushi
  • InstantAnswer
    • Searches Encarta online what is sushi, convert 5 feet to meters, x*5=7, and 2 plus 2
  • Spell
    • Searches Encarta dictionary for spelling suggestions
  • Phonebook
    • Searches phonebook entries sushi in Los Angeles
  • RelatedSearch
    • Returns the query strings most similar to yours
  • Ad
    • Returns advertisements to incorporate with results

I currently plan to start using the web search feature from the new Bing 2.0 API in an open source project related to exception management. Currently, it is still in the conception phase.

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