With almost 60,000 IP addresses, we here at High Speed Web are VERY familiar with ARIN and their website. We are constantly SWIPing and un-SWIPing network blocks and verifying our current SWIPs are correct. Recently, ARIN’s website underwent a startling change and to many it may appear much more disjointed and funky. This is because it isn’t really written for human eyes…
With some 4,294,967,296 (2 to the 32th power) IP addresses (version 4) to track, ARIN has a tough task. Currently they rely heavily on emails from the millions of IP owners to maintain their extensive database of IP networks. So ARIN, according to one representative we talked to, receives between 10 and 20 thousand emails per day requesting reassignments on IPv4 networks. Most organizations that have direct ARIN assignments tend to have fairly large blocks, and for any one looking to actively manage large blocks of IPs, the word is automation.
ARIN knows this, and it also knows that having one machine talk to another machine via email is grotesquely inefficient.
And so they changed their game.
Their new website is, once you get past a few flowery must-have pages, entirely an API. Using Rot Fielding’s RESTful (REpresentational State Transfer) style, the URLs tend to look something like http://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-131-107-0-0-1 and look something like:
It’s not pretty, and certainly won’t win any awards for design or user interfacing.
But it wasn’t designed for you, the human.
If we right click on the page and view the source, we get something like this:
<net xmlns="http://www.arin.net/whoisrws/core/v1" termsOfUse="https://www.arin.net/whois_tou.html">
<orgRef name="Microsoft Corp" handle="MSFT">http://whois.arin.net/rest/org/MSFT</orgRef>
<parentNetRef name="NET131" handle="NET-131-0-0-0-0">http://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-131-0-0-0-0</parentNetRef>
It’s XML with a stylesheet to make it more readable to humans, but that’s not the primary viewer, machines are. So the new site delivers almost exclusively XML output and only shows the immediate information asked for, making it fast and light. For a machine to view multiple pages is nothing, where we humans get more annoyed as more clicks are required to get us to where we go.
They haven’t made the information writable, so they are still relying on emails to modify the info, a change that is the next step in their RESTful plan. Once that is done, ARIN SWIPs will no longer be the major pain they are now.
But it does make their site awkward for the few humans browsing their pages.
Maybe they need a mobile phone ap.