I’m helping https://twitter.com/mickfuzz with https://github.com/webgameclubs/edlab-gamemakers-club . I’m trying to find a way to create https://codepen.io/ environments automatically from the GitHub repo.
How Can I Create a New Pen Using Code?
There is an API documented here: https://blog.codepen.io/documentation/api/prefill/
I’d like to test it. Can I do that on CodePen itself? Here’s a work in progress: https://codepen.io/davepottssoftware/pen/XBvLjW?editors=0011
The way that CodePen responds to a call to its API is to send an HTTP 302 redirect to load a new Pen with the values set up as per the API parameters. It seems to use the “codepen_session” cookie to then know what details to load in the resulting Pen. This new Pen is not saved at this point. It needs user interaction to be able to save the resulting Pen.
Hypothesis for How To Create Pens From GitHub
I’m going to try to create a button in the readme.md file shown on GitHub that will take the contents of the files in the repository folder and create a new CodePen Pen from them.
Getting started is really easy:
- Import the
- Add an
onload handler to your <body> tag to boot Brython
- Write your code inside <script type=”text\python”> tags
Here’s how to use the translate function code from my previous post.
Note that the translation won’t work unless you set up your own account key on the Google Translate API. Drop me a line if you’d like an IP white-listed.
I’m sure there will be gotchas using Brython. I will spend some time investigating further.
- Friction-free to get started – no installing stuff
- As little boiler-plate typing as possible – fill in the blanks and tweak rather than staring on a blank page and typing
We know what we’re going to use for the web page stuff:
- Hosting the web pages we’ll use CodePen – simple interface and easy sharing
- Writing HTML and CSS we’ll use the editor from HTML CheatSheets as a way to get started editing snippets of web code without needing so much typing
The next thing to sort out is how to make the basic call to the Google Translate API. We need something that hides the complexity of the API and leaves an interface something like:
translateFromTo("This original text", "english", "french");
Calling the Google Translate API
Google needs a few details to be covered off before you can actually use their translation API.
Google Cloud Account and API Key
You can’t just call the translate end point. You need to have a Google Cloud account set up and create an API key to access the translation service. You end up being on the hook for usage of the API key. The problem from the CoderDojo perspective is that all the attendees are going to need know the key, even if buried in a library, to be able to make translations. Here’s the plan:
- Lock the API usage down to specific IP addresses. All attendees are likely to be using the site wifi so presenting to Google as the same IP address. These are settings Google Cloud Console lets you change
- Put a reminder in my calendar to turn off the API once the dojo is over
Implementing the Library Function
Blocking Network Calls
translateFromTo() function to block the program execution until it synchronously returns a value. For synchronous HTTP requests out of the browser you need to turn to the old-school XMLHttpRequest and turn off the async flag when constructing a request with open().
Using the Google API Key
The other wrinkle to be aware of when implementing code that calls Google APIs is to pick the correct method for authenticating to the API service. The Google documentation tacitly makes the assumption that you’ll be using the OAuth service to get your users to authenticate through to Google before being allowed to use the API. This is not what we want for the CoderDojo. Rather, as described above, we want to use the simple API key. The use of the API key involves adding a
key= parameter to the request URL. The Google documentation for how to use the API in this mode is here.
Here’s the full code for the function:
Deploying Into CodePen
You can see the CodePen for yourself here: https://codepen.io/davepottssoftware/pen/dKNXaK