the Andrew Bailey

USPS Address APIs

In my recent escapades at work, I have been assigned a project that's outside of the platform we use. The stack looks much like this blog's: Linux, Java, PostgreSQL. The requirements are pretty simple: take two CSV files every day, look over them for duplicate addresses using some web service, then send the files along the usual way. The process will remember addresses for a year.

In evaluating web services, the USPS Address Information API was considered. We're probably not going to use it for reasons not mentioned here. Do you remember XML? In looking at the docs for this API, I realized that someone, somewhere missed a fundamental point along the way. There is no WSDL file, and this looks nothing like SOAP. For this API, there is XML in a URL parameter. I realize that after the dot-com bubble popped, employed programmers were smoking the XML crack as a way of coping for the fact that they were the only people they knew who had jobs. Holy crap, whoever designed this API missed a memo somewhere. It looks like all their APIs are the exact same way.

For some other project, I'm geocoding addresses. I'm rather frustrated, so I might just set up a geocoding server for myself.

Posted under Programming.

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