I would like to support access to the site by applications programmed specifically for the purpose. This could include software with a customised interface programmed by developers with more experience and capability in web design than me; it could also include "bots" (i.e. AI players connecting remotely). In particular, Bryan Rankin has expressed interest in adapting software he had been working on so that it can connect and allow users to play games with a more sophisticated interface.
The benefit of providing specialised scripts for retrieval and submission of information by an application is one of efficiency: firstly, the developer of the application does not need to program his application to pick out useful information from a page designed to be read by humans, and secondly, the server on this web site does not need to put as much work into serving up pages. Any application communicating with the site should follow certain rules. Obviously it is not acceptable to refresh a page ten times a second; that's extremely wasteful of bandwidth.
So far I have written a script that allows an application to get information on a game, ready to be displayed to the user or used to calculate a move in the game. This script performs exactly the same function as the board.php page, except that the output is intended for machines to read rather than humans. The specification for this script, explaining what it does and how it ought to be used, can be found here. Additional scripts allowing submission of moves, retrieval of information on games in progress, and login/logout will become available at some point.
Posted by Bryan Rankin 2009-05-05 12:50:49 GMT
As you may have guessed, I have given up on this idea for now. You've made so many improvements to the interface that what I have to offer will no longer add much value.
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