API for Directory Web App

Do you have a useful link that involves the Church and the technology discussed on this site? Post your links and resources here.
drewsky5
New Member
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:55 am
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
New Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:40 pm

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
New Member
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.

erasmosud1
New Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:06 am

Re: API for Directory Web App

Postby erasmosud1 » Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:30 am

Hello guys !

I am looking to build in Xamarin an application that controls the interview schedule, caravan schedule to the temple, ward activity schedule, control of expenses receipts, control of payments for youth camps, control of assignments and, for that, I need to consume a updated base of the MLS system, I want to make this integration with the LDS.org church system which in turn receives the updated information, the information to be redeemed would be the member's name, the member's record and his / her call.

I can do this in a few days if I can access the church API.

And if the church wants to be able to make my official church application, I don't want to receive anything for it, it's just difficult to do these controls manually.

thankful.

atte

Erasmo Carvalho

russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 30317
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Re: API for Directory Web App

Postby russellhltn » Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:00 pm

erasmosud1 wrote:if I can access the church API.


Other than for FamilySearch partners, I've never seen the church grant access to any API.

Applications that access the web pages without authorization have been shut down.
Have you searched the Help Center? Try doing a Google search and adding "site:churchofjesuschrist.org/help" to the search criteria.

So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

kevinmjacobsen
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2021 8:57 am

Re: API for Directory Web App

Postby kevinmjacobsen » Sun Jan 31, 2021 9:09 am

Seems rather controlling to not even have a public API

Part of the BITE model

Compartmentalize information into Outsider vs. Insider doctrines
a. Ensure that information is not freely accessible
b. Control information at different levels and missions within group
c. Allow only leadership to decide who needs to know what and when


Why not ease our access to be better workers of the faith? The control is still in their hands by way of our individual login permissions.

Covid-19 had made staying in touch nearly impossible... I want the leadership to allow us to help ourselves help them help us helping them helping us... LOL

scgallafent
Church Employee
Church Employee
Posts: 2706
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:55 pm
Location: Riverton, Utah

Re: API for Directory Web App

Postby scgallafent » Mon Feb 01, 2021 12:39 pm

Perhaps it's not so much about authoritarian control as it is about the Church's legal and moral responsibility for managing and protecting membership data.

jonesrk
Church Employee
Church Employee
Posts: 1941
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:12 am
Location: Farmington, UT, USA

Re: API for Directory Web App

Postby jonesrk » Mon Feb 01, 2021 12:45 pm

kevinmjacobsen wrote:Seems rather controlling to not even have a public API

What information would you like to see on a public API that doesn't need to deal with all the various PII privacy laws around the world?

kevinmjacobsen
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2021 8:57 am

Re: API for Directory Web App

Postby kevinmjacobsen » Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:17 am

I'll answer both scgallafent and jonesrk here...

jonesrk wrote:What information would you like to see on a public API that doesn't need to deal with all the various PII privacy laws around the world?


I've already access to the data via church controlled apps. I'd just want an API that allows me to be more flexible on how I use the data I have access to currently.

If you think an API would grant me more access to PII data you would be wrong. Again, I already have access to a level of PII data via my login to tools. Are you suggesting that tools is exposing PII data?

Perhaps you and I aren't speaking the same tech language. I want members (PUBLIC) to have access to the APIs (PRIVATE or Restricted) that the tools app and other apps use currently.

I want to use the data I have access to in ways that don't fit the limited use cases the tools app currently employs. If you want some use cases look to the forums for requested features that have either been rejected, but are allowed but won't be implemented, or have yet to be implemented.

I want the APIs currently in place to be made available to the public community of Saints.

Thanks for considering my POV.

PS - I cannot see how access to those APIs currently not public would change the morality or legality in any way. The data is already in the app and people abuse it already... "No, I don't want to join your MLM and please quit using tools to call members in the stake, that you have never met, with your pitch."

scgallafent
Church Employee
Church Employee
Posts: 2706
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:55 pm
Location: Riverton, Utah

Re: API for Directory Web App

Postby scgallafent » Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:36 am

We are speaking the same language. You want public access to the APIs used by Church-developed tools so that you can build your own applications that utilize those APIs. To keep the answer succinct: "no." The Church does not provide access to application APIs so that third-party applications can have access to data in Church databases.

There is a common belief that because you already have access to the data through Church-provided tools, you should be able to access that data through an API so that you can build your own tools. While that may be the way you see it, that is not the way that the Church sees it. There is a significant difference between providing information to you through a Church-developed tool and giving you access to the data in an API so that you can manipulate it in your own applications.

We know that there are developers who are reverse-engineering the APIs for Church applications for their own purposes. When external applications using Church application APIs are identified, the developers are contacted by the Church. The stake president is often contacted in these situations so that he is aware of the issue. In some cases, users have had their Church accounts blocked from accessing the tools because of API usage. I'm not talking about being blocked from the API, but about being blocked from using the Church tools: LCR, Directory, CDOL, and possibly Member Tools.


Return to “Links & Resources”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest