We are pleased to announce that we have moved the Dictionaries Beta API out of Beta and into production. A big Thank You to all those who have provided us with feedback, and we hope that the updates we have made are useful to all users of the API.
The following sections highlight the main updates we have made to the Dictionaries API since it became available as a Beta API.
Updated Search Capabilities
One of the prime motivations behind the updates to the Dictionaries API has been to make searching both more flexible and more comprehensive. We have migrated from our previous backend database to an ElasticSearch based backend, allowing us to be able to provide much more flexible and accurate searching in the API. We hope that this make finding content quicker, easier and more comprehensive that it was previously. Additionally, we have added simpler ways to allow limiting the search results based on the content having images, audio, synonyms, related words, phrasal verbs and parts of speech, so the API can now be used to hone in on the required content. Finally, there is a generic search parameter that allows for searching through all content in the API - expanding the search capabilities to all content rather than just headwords. Please see the updated API document with the test search and give it a try !
Part of the update has also been to revise the content that we had previously made available via the Dictionaries Beta API. We have, where available, been able to add additional content to the existing dictionaries (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Longman Active Study Guide and Longman English Chinese) that might not have been previously available. Additionally, we have added the Longman Wordwise dictionary content to the API. Additional dictionaries will follow in the near future - look out for any announcements.
No Sandbox Key Required!
Previously, in order to use the API you would need either a production or sandbox API key. While you will still need to sign-up for a production key to access the full content, we have now removed the need to use a key to access the sandbox content (all headwords from A - C). By default, if you do not provide a key, the API will provide you access to the sandbox content. Existing sandbox and production keys will continue to work.
Compatibility with Dictionaries Beta API
We have strived to maintain compatibility with the Dictionaries Beta API, and you should find any calls made previously will continue to work. However, there are some areas of change that you should be aware of:
- The ID field assigned to each entry in the Dictionaries Beta API is NOT compatible with the ID field in the updated API. If you are using this ID directly, you will need to find the new ID of the entry in the new API. Going forward, this ID will remain consistent for each entry.
- The headword and _opts parameters have changed. Firstly, the _opts will now be ignored (although it will not cause a problem if you do specify it). The headword now provides a full-text search on headwords rather than the previous fixed term. Generally, a search should now yield both more accurate and more results than previously.
- The format and content of the fields in the content should remain substantively the same with the Beta API, with the exception of additional fields that have been introduced with the updated content.
We will be publishing full documentation on the use of the API at the earliest opportunity - look out for a blog post to announce this.
Let us know what you think
We hope that you find the updates to the API both useful and worthwhile. If you have any comments, problems or suggestions, please mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org