CrunchBase API WordPress Plugin


CrunchBase (a free directory of technology companies, people, etc.) made open an API recently which allows access to their data. I always liked the short company profiles that TechCrunch (the guys who created CrunchBase) blog would show at the end of each post. So, as soon as the API was up, I put together a quick WordPress plugin which allows insertion of a similar profile in any WordPress post.

Take a look at the sample below (this is information about Yahoo):

[|Yahoo|]

The CrunchBase API supports a number of namespaces from which you can pull data. These include company, person, financial-organization, product, and service-provider. This plugin currently only supports the company namespace.


To insert CrunchBase data into your post, all you need to do is add the name of the company surrounded by “[|” and “|]” tags. So, to insert the information above, I had to add the following to my post (highlighted text in the screenshot below):

crunchbase

The plugin automatically parses the text and queries the CrunchBase company database to fetch the data and pastes it in a tabular format.

As I mentioned, it was a quick job and so the features are rudimentary:

  • Support only for companies (it would be easy enough to add support for other workspaces, and I just might in the near future).
  • Minimal error handling. If it encounters any error, then it will not replace the tag. I could make it nice and replace the text by a Google search link. Will think about this in the future.
  • No administration options. Everything is hard coded.
  • You can’t change the look and feel of the inserted text; unless you go and change the PHP code. It’s fairly straightforward. (Read further down for an alternative version which allows you to embed the CrunchBase Widget dynamically).

To install the plugin, download the zip file from the link: CrunchBase 1.0

Extract the contents and place it in your wp-content/plugins file. Go and activate the plugin from the admin panel. And you are good to go.

As another demonstration, here is information about TechCrunch:

[|TechCrunch|]

I would like to develop this plugin further to make it more powerful, and also provide more customization options.

Any comments, suggestions, etc. are welcome.

Update: Made a small change so that it displays the same in IE and FireFox.

Update: I have made a change to the plugin so that instead of creating my own (pretty sucky) html, it dynamically inserts a CrunchBase Widget instead. I still use the API to query the name of the company from a given Permalink.

Here’s the new version of the plugin (the link above lets you download the old version which produces it’s own html): CrunchBase 1.1

Update: Alright, the development of this plugin is officially dead. Joost De Valk has released a plugin which does exactly what my plugin does already and was planning to do in the future. Head over to the plugin page on WordPress.org to check it out. http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/crunchbase-widget/


19 thoughts on “CrunchBase API WordPress Plugin”

  1. Cool! Thanks for the plugin.

    Are you aware that we make the CrunchBase widget (the one you see on TechCrunch) available to everyone to use? You can create customized ones here http://www.crunchbase.com/widget

    A wordpress plugin that can automatically integrate the official CrunchBase widget would be awesome as well.

  2. @Rob, Yes, the widget is cool, however, it’s static. I have to go create the widget manually for each company I want to include in my post.

    This plugin however, let’s me add CrunchBase data inline. I don’t need to visit the CrunchBase (well maybe I do, to check whether a given Permalink is valid).

    Yes, a plugin that would allow integration of the widget would be cool. However, I am hoping that this plugin will allow the blog owner to create a UI which is complementary to their blog UI.

  3. Rob’s response got me thinking, I am working to produce the plugin so that it pulls in the CrunchBase Widget inline. It uses the API to get the name of the company dynamically.

  4. Sweet!

    We’ve always been hoping someone would make that plugin but for some reason we haven’t done it ourselves.

    I agree with you that the API provides more flexibility both in terms of design and information provided. I only brought up the official CrunchBase widget because it seemed you were recreating it with your first cut at the plugin.

    Looking forward what you come up with.

    -Rob

  5. You are right, I was trying to re-create it. The first look at the widget suggested that it is static (in the sense that you have to get the code from your Widget Configuration page).

    However, that is not the case. Now it generates the Widget code (of course, now that makes it dependent on the Widget and if you change that code, then I am screwed).

    But, I will cross that Bridge when I come to it. :)

  6. Hello Marco,

    I can’t imagine why this is working. I can see on your blog that the tag is not being replaced by the widget. If you wish, then I can try and debug this for you.

    Am emailing you for this.

  7. @Marco, As we found out, it was a problem with the json_decode() function. It was not supported on your installation.

    I will update the documentation to provide a list of pre-requisites for this plugin. Sorry for all the pain.

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