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Paul Hallett
Paul Hallett

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I built a popular open source API project, Ask Me Anything!

I recently blogged about how I built PokeAPI, a very popular open source API. A lot of new developers often encounter this early on in their career.

I want to give people a chance to ask me questions about it, or about running open source projects, or programming in python/django.

So...AMA?

Discussion (14)

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bashunaimiroy profile image
Bashu Naimi-Roy

What is something you wish more people knew about the interaction between mental health challenges and creating/maintaining a project like this?

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Paul Hallett Ask Me Anything

Well, I think that if I had been more experienced with my mental health, then I would have noticed my manic obsessive tendency to build the original project and I might have stopped myself, thus never having actually built PokeAPI. So it's a bit of a double edged sword - I created PokeAPI in part to avoid the issues with my deteriorating mental health.

I would say this: mental health affects people in a lot of different ways, and it's hard to deal with it. It takes a lot of time to reach some plateau of normalcy, let alone being properly happy. If working on a project for days and days gives you focus and happiness, then do it, but don't let it consume you. Don't ignore the pain you're feeling.

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Muhammad Adib Ahmad Roslan

just read the article. it was inspiring. may i know the PokeAPI current servers specifications that manages to handles those 25 milions requests permonth ?

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Paul Hallett Ask Me Anything

It's all cached data on firebase. We cache the results for 24 hours, and the API is hit enough that a large majority of the requests are just returning the cached result!

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Weizhi Xie

Is it expensive for this amount of requests using Firebase?

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Paul Hallett Ask Me Anything

We cache all the api results, as they never change we can do that. So we only pay for functions that run - i.e. - the first time a function runs to return data, after that it is a cached result. So around $10USD a month.

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Ayyappa

I was totally amazed to see the volume its handling currently! Great work!
I would like to know what measures you usually take to stop abuse or any sort of DDoS attacks as the API seems to be public.

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Paul Hallett Ask Me Anything

Cloudflare provides a free tier that blocks a tonne of malicious traffic for us. I guess there is not much to exploit so we're quite lucky when it comes to DDOSing, it's almost always innocent young developers accidentally spamming the server.

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Ayyappa

Thanks for the details. Do you have any recommendations on protecting a public api from DDoS attacks? I haven't found a direct way with Cloud Flare to protect a REST API, where as I see they have good details for protecting a website though.

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Paul Hallett Ask Me Anything

Set your DNS up with Cloudflare, it'll deal with 90% of issues. You can also set up rate limiting in your project. We used to do rate limiting by IP address.

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Xing Wang

Fascinating. Who are biggest users of this Pokemon APIs? What are some of the applications that they build on top of it? Which application do you like most?

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Paul Hallett Ask Me Anything

I believe nearly all of the users are students, at least the largest majority. Quite a few simple services like pokedex.org runs off the API too.

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Pratik • Edited on

How to create Apk of python code

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Paul Hallett Ask Me Anything

What you're probably after is how to package a python program, this is a good guide: packaging.python.org/