API for Directory Web App

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drewsky5
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Location: UT, USA

Re: API for Directory Web App

Postby drewsky5 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 6:40 pm

sbradshaw wrote:It would be nice if LDS Tools had a "smart lists" option to make a list of everyone who has a certain calling, for example. I imagine something like this could happen.



Despite this conversation revolving around an API, the OP use case would be completely solved if something like this would be implemented. The ability to create a list based on callings would be really great and make maintaining lists over time much, much simpler.

lukeh
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Re: API for Directory Web App

Postby lukeh » Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:21 pm

Well, I was warned off-list after posting the method for downloading ward data that "this matter has caused a big reaction at Church Offices, and has gone high in the hierarchy, higher than you want to know". I was told I could expect to be called in for a meeting with some very senior people. So I pretty much dropped the issue, and the meeting never happened.

I wrote disclaimers in the original posts stating that the data should only be used for legitimate Church purposes, just as official ward lists do. Legally I don't think it's at all defensible to say that the data could not be manually downloaded and manipulated, since there is absolutely no data available through the API that you can't also view through the Web interface, filtered according to your calling and stewardship. The JSON just makes it much easier to programmatically deal with the data. Maybe they're worried about copies of the data being broken out of the web interface. But you can print, photocopy, copy/paste, or right click and save any web content already, so that's not legally defensible either: as soon as you publish anything electronically, you lose control of that data. Data can be copied at zero cost and usually with zero friction, so in a real sense any control over this information is illusionary as soon as the data is published, and the Church is really just asking people to honor their covenants and the stewardship of their callings by asking that it be used only for official church business. But most importantly, ecclesiastically it's not possible to make the case that a leader shouldn't use their initiative and/or any God-given programming talent to magnify their calling, since the Scriptures teach the opposite (D&C 58:26-29). I was just a small fry trying to magnify my calling, and thought I could help others to do the same. Maybe these are all reasons why the meeting never happened.

The JSON API is presumably still there. It was very straightforward to figure out the exact API using Chrome Web Development Tools, simply watching the requests and responses -- anybody with a little bit of web development experience could do the same today -- and, frankly, could have figured this out on their own without me even suggesting it. Probably a few people have independently done this already. However my posts describing how to do it have been pulled twice, and I'm guessing reposting them would be fruitless. I cannot probably write here suggesting that people actually *do* this, or this post will be pulled too. But what I will say is do what you think is right to fulfill your calling, and I'm sure the Lord will appreciate your efforts!

lukeh
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Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:40 pm

Re: API for Directory Web App

Postby lukeh » Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:28 pm

drewsky5 wrote:
sbradshaw wrote:It would be nice if LDS Tools had a "smart lists" option to make a list of everyone who has a certain calling, for example. I imagine something like this could happen.



Despite this conversation revolving around an API, the OP use case would be completely solved if something like this would be implemented. The ability to create a list based on callings would be really great and make maintaining lists over time much, much simpler.


Sorry, I missed your core point. I agree, giving much more powerful filtering and crosslinking options for generating custom reports would go a long way towards eliminating the need for API access. Also a lot of reports I needed over the years surrounded Home teaching and visiting teaching, but with Ministering, most of the reporting complexity is gone.


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