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For programmers

The major strength of this database is that you can access it from your own programs. Suppose that you're writing the latest all-singing, all-dancing peal generating program which will be accessed through your web page. Some user comes along and asks it to generate a composition of Clover Cyclic Bob Fourteen. How do you find out the place notation? Well, you could keep a local copy of the Central Council's method collections; but you'd have to update them regularly, and you'd have to write your own code to search them. Instead, in two or three lines of code your program can contact the online method database and retrieve all the information you need about the method.

This database could also be useful if you are writing an application which people are expected to use on their PCs at home, where they don't have a permanent network connection. In that case you might still want to maintain a local method collection. It takes a relatively small amount of effort to write a script or short program which contacts the database and retrieves all the information which has been updated since last time you looked, and incorporates that into your local collection. With this, keeping the method collection up to date is simple not just for the user but for you as well. If you would like help or advice on the easiest way to do this, please contact us.

How to access the database

The way the database works is this: you submit an HTTP query to the server, and it returns an XML file containing the results of the query. You have a choice of two ways to access the database from your program:

  • Use an HTTP client library to submit the query and a standard XML library to parse the XML data;
  • Use one of the language-specific libraries provided on this site to fetch and interpret the data.

If you are programming in one of the languages for which we provide a library, the second way is probably easier.

Further information

Read on for detailed information on accessing the database:

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