Is It Ok To Play With APIs?

I’m only interested in data retrieval to share with a small group of people. I’ve been fiddling around with the stirfry github stuff but don’t really know what I’m doing and don’t want to cause a big mess. Are they fool proof? If so, what about an exceptional fool?

Yes it’s OK to play with the API. As long as you keep within the Terms of Use, I think you’ll be fine.

Are they fool proof? If so, what about an exceptional fool?

If you keep to GET requests and the limits in the terms of use, I don’t think you could do anything bad.
Though if you’re just interested in retrieving data, take a look at if the export tool, and the pre exported datasets would be better than hitting the API.


My github repo is a mess. I don’t even know how to delete from it. I tried to hack the species_count script from stirfry. My intent is good. I want to lift up some people in my little group that have gone farther than I have gone. If someone wants to keep an eye on me, or at least point and laugh, it’d be fine.

Don’t take any of that the wrong way. Your response was very kind. I just don’t know what I’m doing.

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To add to what @agoranomos said, if you are using the APIs without authentication (i.e. without being logged into your iNat user account), you probably can do no damage beyond burning up server time. If you learn how to authenticate your API scripts, then you need to start being careful to not (for example) accidentally post robo-spam or delete all your content.


Only looking to retrieve, not update.

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