Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Using GitHub API to show our projects in personal sites or blog

Introduction

There are still debates going on regarding whether Github is a developer's resume or not. Whatever happens it is good to show the list of GitHub projects in a software engineer's personal site to whom he/she is contributing to.

Integrating Github API to www.JoymonOnline.in

Below is the diagram shows how I have integrated GitHub into my personal site.

www.JoymonOnline.in is a web site

Most of us know the difference between web site and web app. Here in this case we are dealing with a web site where the HTML is generated at server side and send to client. Client browser is supposed to just render the markup given by web server.

How the GitHub API looks like

Its just a URL. More specifically ReST urls which points to resources. Below is one example API url. This gives details about the repository joyful-visualstudio. Just copy paste the url into browser address bar and hit enter. The data will be displayed.

How to call GitHub API

Coming to technical programming aspects. Here in this site the API is called using WebClient class. This is a simple class in .Net framework which can be used to deal with web sites and web APIs.

Authentication / Security

If the request is not authenticated, we can perform read operations. But there is a limit in such calls. That limit is based on the IP address from where the call originates. In this case the call originates from ASP.Net code of http://joymononline.in web site. The site is hosted in shared hosting plan. It means there will be other sites in same server machine. They may call GitHub without authentication and from GitHub point all originate from same IP and it limits.

To get rid of that problem we can authenticate the requests with token. The simple way is to obtain the token from GitHub and keep in the site and transfer via header. The header name used is 'Authorization'. Now the limit is per token, its high limit and no need to worry about shared hosting.

Securing API token

Make sure the token is not public. In JoymonOnline where source is hosted in public repository in Github itself, token is not visible. Its inserted during the deployment time from AppVeyor CI solution.

.Net Client SDK

GitHub also has client sdk to make the interaction easier. If we are using client SDK we don't need to worry about low level http related WebClient class.

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