How do I install the Zmanim API Program?
The Zmanim API is not a program that can be installed, but a Java programming library often referred to as an API (Application Programming Interface). This is a building block to be used by programmers who want to easily include zmanim in their own programs. The Zmanim API allows them to do this with minimal understanding of the way zmanim are calculated. A sample of a program that uses the Zmanim API library is the Zmanim Calendar Generator. The Zmanim Calendar Generator collects user entered location information on the web page and submits this to a small Java program that calculates a year’s worth of zmanim and outputs it as an Excel spreadsheet (using the Apache POI library). A future FAQ may provide a list of current programs that use the Zmanim API.
Questions communicated to me via the contact page far exceed the number of comments in the blog. In the hope of clarifying the most common questions related to the Zmanim API and to a lesser degree other parts of this site, I plan on a series of FAQ posts that will hopefully cut down on the number of questions. The list of FAQs may eventually be consolidated into a FAQ page.
>After numerous requests, the Zmanim Calendar Generator can now output a less extensive list of zmanim. While the “full” calendar option (the default) generates an Excel spreadsheet with 108 columns of zmanim, the “standard” output generates a spreadsheet with 15 columns containing the most commonly used zmanim. The exact list of what constitutes commonly used zmanim is likely to be tweaked over time. The spreadsheet was initially designed for developers as a sample of the various zmanim available in the API. Developers can compare the output of their zmanim using the API, or a ported version of the API to the spreadsheet for accuracy. Based on feedback, many people use it to generate shul calendars and wanted a less daunting list of zmanim.
The Zmanim API 1.1 was released early this morning. Information about what changed in this release can be seen in previous posts about various beta and patch releases. A last-minute change involved the removal of the misheyakir calculations commonly used by the Syrian community. The removal was due to the various different minhagim used, and Chacham Yosef Harari-Raful not endorsing any specific one, nor does he include any in his calendar. The API is flexible enough to be used for any calculation wanted by the various Syrian shuls even without “native” support for a built in “Ateret Torah” misheyakir. Some missing JavaDocs were also added.
I would like to again thank Rabbi Rachamim Ashkenazi the publisher of a zmanim calendar for the Syrian Community, and Victor Grazi for his input, testing and technical expertise used for adding the new “Ateret Torah” zmanim.
The main download is the Zmanim 1.1 release zip file that includes source files and JavaDoc documentation. Also available for download (included in the above zip file) is the main zmanim-1.1.jar and the new zmanimAstronomical-1.1.jar that only includes the AstronomicalCalendar and supporting classes. Additional detail on the downloads can be seen on the Zmanim Download page.
As hinted at in my previous post , there is a new project underway that uses the Zmanim API in a way that I had never really imagined. Using the Smack API, Michael Kopinsky created the ZmanimBot that allows getting zmanim by instant messaging the ZmanimBot, an internet bot. It currently supports the Google Talk IM system, but support for other systems might follow. Please be aware that the system is under development and is not always up. Additional information can be found on the ZmanimBot page.
Update (ג׳ אייר תשע״ג April 13, 2008): The ZmanimBot is now available via AIM