Dapper – Unleash your creativity

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Dapper is a new service. You may have noticed that there are many of those emerging these days. Dapper, however, is different. It’s a new kind of service.

Dapper’s mission is to allow you to use any web based content in any way you can imagine. And by use, we mean going beyond just reading or viewing a webpage. You may want to create an RSS feed or a Google Gadget for a site, take a site’s content and put it on a map, receive an email alert when your site’s Alexa’s ranking goes below 5000, or create a mashup of your favorite band’s tour dates and a camping locations reservation website to organize your musical camping vacation. Whatever you want to do, however you want to mold the web, Dapper can help you do it.

How do we go about filling such a tall order? Well, basically, Dapper allows you to easily build an API for any website. Initially, if the content source you’re interested in is not Dapped already, Dapper will take you through a visual and intuitive process that takes just minutes. When finished, you will have at your disposal an API with which you can interface to get the content you are interested in. Imagine you want to build a service that gets movie theaters details in your zip code. All you have to do is dapp Yahoo Theaters, and voila, you have a web service API for Yahoo theaters, which can be accessed with any zip code and returns the relevant data in a format of your choice (XML, HTML, RSS, Google Map, etc.).

Using Dapper, any web page becomes a LEGO block, which you can arrange and manipulate in any way you like.

So, that’s our mission statement. We think you’ll find we have come a long way towards fulfilling it, and now it’s time to get you in the picture. We cannot build such a service on our own. We need you to use our service, test it, challenge it, and get inspired by it. In short, we’d love your feedback, so give it a go.

If you’re a programmer, you may use Dapped content in its raw XML form, or use an SDK. Otherwise, you can also try our creation tools or just click on “Define a Service” after choosing a Dapp transformer.

If you’ve built a new service using Dapper, please let us know and we will add it to our list of Dapper enabled services (Dapplications).

You probably have quite a number of questions that are left unanswered. Some answers you might find in our FAQs page. For others, feel free to send us a note or leave a comment on this post and we promise to answer promptly. Expect future posts on this blog to deal with other topics of interest related to Dapper.

One last note about the name: Dapper. When people ask us why “Dapper” we have two answers: The geeky answer and the inspirational one. The geeky answer is – Dapper is short for “Data Mapper”, which is the essence of what we’re doing. The inspirational one is – what we aim to do, in effect, is make the entire Web more dapper. More trimmed, well dressed, and accessible. Your creativity is the only limit.

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28 Responses to “Dapper – Unleash your creativity”

  1. Scott Says:

    Awesome idea.

  2. Vivek Says:

    I like. Can’t wait to try it out.

  3. Project Syndicate » Sunspots: The punk edition Says:

    [...] Dapper: Build an API for any website “Dapper’s mission is to allow you to use any web based content in any way you can imagine. And by use, we mean going beyond just reading or viewing a webpage. You may want to create an RSS feed or a Google Gadget for a site, take a site’s content and put it on a map, receive an email alert when your site’s Alexa’s ranking goes below 5000, or create a mashup of your favorite band’s tour dates and a camping locations reservation website to organize your musical camping vacation. Whatever you want to do, however you want to mold the web, Dapper can help you do it.” [...]

  4. Neil Says:

    Great idea. And thanks for not calling it “Dappr.”

  5. Harish Kumar Says:

    Very cool!

    Incidentally, are you guys familiar with Piggybank? What we have here is very much on the same lines. Just that Piggybank tries to do most of the work on the client side avoiding tricky rights issues. Not quite sure how web site owners would respond to Dapper screenscraping and reusing content.

  6. PlagiarismToday » Dapper: The Scraper for the Common Man Says:

    [...] Sometimes, especially with Web 2.0 companies, jargon can get a little bit out of hand. When someone says that a service allows you to ”build an API for any website“, it can be a bit difficult to understand what that really means. However, put simply, Dapper is a scraper. Nothing more. It allows you to scrape content from a Web page and convert it into an XML document that can be easily used at another location. Though you won’t find the words “scrape” or “scraper” anywhere on its site, that is exactly what it does. [...]

  7. Ontiveros @ Textdriven » Sunspots: The punk edition Says:

    [...] Dapper: Build an API for any website [...]

  8. margus.vaino » Blog Archive » web2.1 Says:

    [...] Dapper – Unleash your creativity « Dapper [...]

  9. Scott Yates Says:

    I love the idea, and have one application in mind for it, but couldn’t get dapper to work.
    Here’s what I did: I like using trendio.com (a stock-exchange-like trading system based on words in the news), but the pages load so slowly that it’s not much fun, so I end up ignoring it. I’d love to build a dapper page to let me first log on to trendio, then show me the 1 and 30-day charts on a bunch of the words i’ve picked, and then be able to “buy” or “sell” them. (It’s all pretend money.)
    Well, first I couldn’t figure out how to get dapper to let me log on, even though I read about it in the FAQ. Second, when I tried to load some of the word pages, it gave me this error: failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request in virtual-browser.php
    Any help would be appreciated. Feel free to contact me directly. Thanks in advance, Scott

  10. Carson Mehl Says:

    This is a great service! Thanks. One thing I am hoping you will change: images dont show up in the rss feeds. A lot of places are starting to include thumbnail images in their feeds. I tried to create a feed that syndicates images rather than text and it did not work. Any thoughts?

  11. Tristan Says:

    And, ‘dapper’ means ‘brave’ in Dutch.

    The whole concent of Dapper is not clear to me yet, sorry.
    And I am a web developer who built an RSS puller and spitter.
    Maybe a video or so for the simple minds amongst us ?

  12. imran Says:

    thanks for helping me

  13. dapper « shymaytech Says:

    [...] maggiori informazioni [...]

  14. Sean Says:

    How does this compare to the new openkapow site that went live a few days ago?

  15. Stefan Says:

    Some say Dapper is easier to use, but openkapow seems lot more powerful and personally I find it at least as easy to use as well

  16. Eran Shir Says:

    Hey Stefan,
    I’m happy to see that the guys in Kapow know about us…
    We certainly see Kapow as a useful tool, so keep on the good work back there, we value competition (and possibly cooperation in the future). We’ll let the markets decide who is the best :)

  17. Stefan Says:

    Hey Eran

    Agreed

    I think the world is so diverse that every product will have a group of people that think it is the best for them. That is one of the benefits of the web, it is so large and so diverse for every taste. It will be the same in this case. Future is exiting.

  18. Smoking jackets store Says:

    Great idea!!!

  19. Nik Says:

    Great product. I’ve used Kapow — this is much simpler and faster to use, and of course the web interface is very easy to use; the services architecture is great.

    However — many improvements are needed. Specifically:

    1) Work with forms. I’ve tried forms from multiple sites, adding to basket, clicking on different fields (checkboxes) and setting variables, etc. — no success. Either I’m doing something wrong — need better “documentation” or functionality is not there

    2) Capability to change the URL(s) of the dapps

    3) Capability to understand “paging” of the results that I’m trying to ‘dapp’ — so that combined results from pages 1, 2, 3, etc. work

    4) Re-order/sort fields — somehow order of the fields must be specified to ensure proper sorting of results.

    5) Checking/validation of the field names. If you enter characters (>, ~, etc) this screws up the output. Why would you want to enter those characters? well — if I want the output be simply:

    > Mike Hall ~ Coordinator ^ 222 123 5546

    instead of:

    Name: Mike Hall Title: Coordinator Phone: 222 123 5546

    I would love to work with you guys to help test / refine this. Excellent lightweight solution that would be great to grow.

    Nik

  20. GoReporter.com - News Media Junkie Blog » Buzz at The Wall Street Journal - Citizen Journalism Says:

    [...] and implement new and exciting services and applications. You can read more about our vision on our blog.”.  They’re watching you every minute, or at least every 30 [...]

  21. Anne Says:

    I thank you for your comment.

  22. CXZa Says:

    Looks nice

  23. Vaea Says:

    I hate spammers! (

  24. Julian On Software » Dapper: convert any web page into a web service Says:

    [...] Dapper: convert any web page into a web service “Dapper allows you to easily build an API for any website. Initially, if the content source you’re interested in is not Dapped already, Dapper will take you through a visual and intuitive process that takes just minutes. When finished, you will have at your disposal an API with which you can interface to get the content you are interested in.” [...]

  25. Just Search » Search Engine Optimisation & Internet Marketing Journal Says:

    Dapper.net – Easy to Use Web Content Aggregator

    There’s a new contender in the content extraction arena which simplyfied things for us. Dapper.net is getting a lot of buzz lately, for good reason. They have created an easy and non-technical way through a powerful GUI that allows anyone to mash up d…

  26. The 1st of SEO » Blog Archive » Dapper.net - Easy to Use Web Content Aggregator Says:

    [...] Dapper features a very powerful way to select several fields off a complex HTML page to create a ‘Dapp’. Before you create your Dapp browse through the extensive library as someone else may have already created a Dapp that suits your needs, or from which you can work upon. [...]

  27. Just Search » Search Engine Optimisation & Internet Marketing Journal Says:

    Dapper.net – Easy to Use Web Content Aggregator

    I have always been very impressed with Yahoo! Pipes when it comes to collecting content from multiple sources remix it through RSS/JSON and use it for a number of purposes, which can vary from niche news aggregators, user specific feeds, Amazon applica…

  28. Attack of the Website Scrapers | The BookmarkMoney Blog Says:

    [...] and implement new and exciting services and applications. More information is located at their blog. I’ve played around with it a little bit, and while I can see the potential, I didn’t [...]

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