Considering I grew up to become an engineer, it probably comes as no surprise that when I was younger the biggest highlight of every birthday was a new LEGO set. Each set gave me new pieces for my collection, and with every new piece came the possibility to build something entirely different. By the time I moved on to more durable construction methods, I knew how to work with gears, pulleys, belt drives, drive trains, and of course, spring-loaded exploding walls.
Like building with LEGOs, putting together a web application is a matter of combining the right pieces in the right configuration. Once you have established the overall purpose of your application, try to break it down into functional units. If you can find an API or library for each function, then all you have to do is figure out what you need to connect the pieces. This allows you, the developer, to focus solely on building something no one has built before.
To illustrate this building block approach, let’s dive into two web applications built by developers in the AlchemyAPI community.
Another interesting application of the AlchemyAPI technology is Balachander Ramachandran‘s Yelp Data Visualizer. Built at HackIllinois, the data visualizer creates word clouds that display keywords and sentiment from Yelp reviews. This project pieces together a number of powerful tools to build a flexible framework that can fit a wide range of data.
The data visualizer uses Flask as its web framework, with Bootstrap to handle the user interface aspects (for more on getting started with Flask, check out my previous post). The data navigation pieces are handled with Elasticsearch, AlchemyAPI is used for keyword and sentiment extraction, and additional language modeling is handled by the NLTKÂ Python library. Sound useful? Download the code and give it a try!
Watson in the Wild is a weekly blog series that highlights cool apps that have been developed with Watson and AlchemyAPI services. If you spot an interesting reference to Watson or AlchemyAPI, or apps that others have created, please comment below.Â If you’ve created an app that youâ€™d like other people in the Watson Community to see, click here to share it with us.