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Why DNS needs an API
By Dave Winer on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 4:45 AM.

A picture named tryHarder.jpgI'm trying to talk Hover into implementing a simple DNS API. We have what we need from Amazon, but it's not a good idea to build on a single vendor's system. Having an alternative to swtich to if there's trouble would be good.  #

So here's how my outlining software uses the DNS API from Amazon. When outliners are used to author web content they often have a huge linkrot problem, because the address of an object is a function of its location in the outline. Move it, and all previous links broke.  #

But you use an outliner for its ability to reorganize, and it's that very ability that makes it more likely that links will break. #

We used to think this was just a tradeoff you had to live with... #

But then we hit on the idea of placing a name on a headline, that stays with it as it moves around. And if that name were managed by DNS, we wouldn't even have to write a resolver for the name, DNS would do most of the work for us! Really neat when an ancient bit of technology ends up solving a very modern problem. Love it.  #

But -- creating a new CNAME is a major distraction! #

This is what you have to do to create a new CNAME. #

1. Bring the browser to the front. #

2. Choose the Domains page of your DNS provider from your Bookmarks menu. #

3. Log in if necessary. #

4. Choose the domain from your list of domains. #

5. Click the link to edit the zone file. #

6. Add a new CNAME. #

7. Click Submit and wait. #

8. Find your way back to doing what you were doing. #

That's why we don't use DNS as a way of marking a spot in a web structure.  #

But what if, instead, there was a button in my outliner that did most of the work. #

1. Click the Add Marker button. #

2. Enter a name in a dialog. #

3. Click OK. #

4. Wait a few seconds. #

The important thing is that you didn't have to switch contexts, or load up your brain with a whole other lengthy task and then somehow try to regain the context of your work. You're much more likely, in teh first scenario, to avoid it -- too much trouble. In the second, once you understood what it did, it's relatively painless. #

The key is to add an API to DNS so the functionality can be integrated into the editing app. #

BTW, we only use a very small subset of the Amazon API. One entrypoint is all that's absolutely necessary, one that creates a new CNAME record. #

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