KEGG API is a new web service for accessing the KEGG database. KEGG is a suite of databases including GENES, SSDB, PATHWAY, LIGAND, LinkDB, etc. for genome research and related research areas in molecular and cellular biology. These databases and associated computation services are available via WWW and the user interfaces are built on web browsers. Thus, the interfaces are designed to be accessed by humans, not by machines, which means that it is troublesome for the researchers who want to use KEGG in an automated manner. Besides, from the database developer's side, it is impossible to prepare all the CGI programs that satisfy a variety of users' needs.
With the background noted above, we have started developing KEGG API. KEGG API is a set of methods to retrieve various information that is stored in the KEGG database. Using the APIs, the user can access the latest versions of the KEGG database from the user's own local programs. The service is implemeted on SOAP and WSDL, and has been tested with Ruby (SOAP4R version 126.96.36.199) and Perl (SOAP::Lite version 0.55) languages. Although the service has not been tested with clients written in other languages, it should work if the language can treat SOAP/WSDL.
KEGG API is available at http://www.genome.ad.jp/kegg/soap/.