Oct 27, 2008

Simple Currency Conversion Rate API Consumption For Ruby / Rails

I had the need to consume some exchange rate data for an internal project so I began looking for an about. My searching found no api for Google Finance, Yahoo Finance, XE, or Oanda. :-(

Fortunately I found the currency converter from Xavier Media and their simple currency exchange rate xml API, which includes historical data too.

I put together an absolutely minimal lib to get the data I need.  I just needed the AU/US rate.  The xml provides all data as base to EUR, but with some simple math I can find the rate I need with reasonable accuracy.  In this case ‘accuracy’ is based on spot checking it against the yahoo rates.

I thought it worth sharing in case others are looking for something similar.

UPDATE: I changed the xml string below to better handle single digit date months. Xavier needs '01' instead of '1'

require "cgi"
require "uri"
require "net/https"
require "rexml/document"

module XavierMedia
  # Returns the exchange rate (AUD/USD) on the given date.
  def self.exchange_rate_on(date)
    url = URI.parse("http://api.finance.xaviermedia.com/api/#{date.year}/#{date.strftime("%m")}/#{date.strftime("%d")}.xml")

    resp = Net::HTTP.get(url)
    xml  = REXML::Document.new(resp)

    us_to_eur = 1.0
    au_to_eur = 1.0
    xml.elements.each("//exchange_rates/fx") { |el|
      if el.elements[1].text == "USD"
        us_to_eur = el.elements[2].text.to_f rescue 1.0
      if el.elements[1].text == "AUD"
        au_to_eur = el.elements[2].text.to_f rescue 1.0

    return us_to_eur/au_to_eur