Thursday, May 12, 2011

SBS Transit puts roadblock in front of app developers

SBS Transit is blocking local app developers from grabbing information about bus arrival times from the SBS Transit website thus crippling popular local apps.

These include apps such as tranSGuide and Gothere.sg. Among the apps that are still work are the newer versions of SG NextBus, SG Buses V3 and of course, SBS Transit Iris.

SBS Transit is blocking developers by requiring all queries sent via the web interface to pass a Captcha challenge-response test. The test requires that the person key in the validation number presented on the page. Humans using the service can easily pass the test and get the necessary data. However, automated scripts will have difficulty passing this test and will thus be denied access.

This roadblock also affects Android and Windows Phone 7 apps that rely on SBS Transit's data.

We have contacted SBS Transit and will update this story if they respond.

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6 comments:

tiger4™ said...

Just as I suspected. SBS Transit forcing us to use their app? Luckily SG Bus is still working.

sh2sg said...

There are always workarounds to break Captcha, Roadmate app for Symbian and Windows Mobile are still working.

sh2sg said...

btw, ShowNearBy seems to work too.
http://itunes.apple.com/sg/app/shownearby/id374848342?mt=8

Jimmy Yap said...

Some developers have gotten around the problem, but without authorisation, this means they are liable to have that access pulled too...

k.i.T.z said...

I reverse engineered the official SBS Iris iPhone app and captured the request and reply packets. 3rd party clients can use this method to query Iris data without having to deal with scraping the web interface or the captcha.

http://1actobacillus.tumblr.com/post/5832823072/sbs-official-iris-iphone-app-and-its-api

James Martin said...

I think this reaction will affected on windows 7 and Android applications that depend on SBS Transit's data. Custom web applications development services