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21 May 2010, 08:55

Guardian Open Platform officially launched

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Guardian News & Media (GNM) publishers of the Guardian and the Observer newspapers, has officially launched the Guardian commercial Open Platform, which opens up the newspapers internal database to partners, allowing them to re-use the content for their own web sites. The Guardian Open Platform (GOP) had been running in beta mode since early last year and already over 2,000 developers have registered. Over 200 applications, products and data visualisations using the Open Platform are now live.

Registered users of the GOP are supplied with a key that allows them to access the content on the GOP web site. Using the Guardian Content API users can search, select and collect Guardian content from a database of articles and multimedia which is updated on a daily basis. There are currently over 1 million articles available in the database going back as far as 1999.

The Guardian provides a three tiered approach to content access; Keyless, Approved and Bespoke. Keyless access provides just the story headlines, while Approved grants free of charge access to the full story content and the right to republish, but there is embedded advertising in the body text of each article as well as a watermark and a performance tracking code. Bespoke access is unrestricted and advert free, but attracts an individually negotiated fee.

The Guardian Open Platform is powered by the open source Apache Lucene enterprise search server Solr. During development of the platform the Guardian worked with Lucene specialists Lucid Imagination; Eric Gries, CEO of Lucid Imagination said "We're excited to be working with The Guardian on this next generation platform. Their leading-edge innovation is consistent with what we see in the adoption of Lucene/Solr in Europe and around the world". In the future, The Guardian intends to develop new applications based on Lucene/Solr and are looking to tap into cloud-based deployment strategies, improve scalability, reduce risks and deployment costs, and more deeply integrate the technology into the Guardian's operating environment.

Apache Lucene EuroCon is currently in its inaugural session in Prague and Stephen Dunn, Head of Technology Strategy, Guardian News and Media, delivered a keynote address there highlighting the latest innovations in the Open Platform. This was followed by Graham Tackley, the Guardian's Lead Software Engineer, presenting an in-depth technical briefing explaining how the development team achieved their goals of rapid indexing, simple scalability and zero downtime for near-continuous updates in content using Solr.

Those interested can gain a better idea of how the Guardian Open Platform works by visiting the Guardian's Getting Started with Open Platform web page.


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