— Forest and the Trees

Public APIs – Arghh

Yesterday:
1. More hits on this website than all other days combined.
2. Worst day ever for Flickr API – really slow, and at least one API call no longer works (get pictures by interesting with multiple tags*).
3. So, all these people came to check out Findr, FlashForward finalist, and it wasn’t working. And even when it was/is working, it’s running so slow that it’s really not fun to use anyway – which is really the point. (And it’s still running really slow.)

This is the problem with working with Public APIs. It’s great to get your hands on public data. And, you don’t have to maintain a dBase – but, if you control the data (this blog runs on mySql), you can control the problems.

I had similar problems with when delicious went down a month ago. All the links on this site are saved as delicious bookmarks, and when delicious went down, so did the links. In that case, I could store the links locally, but I’m sacrificing control for convenience by using delicious.

It’s just a, kind of backward, change. We all get so used to everything working – and working fast. And things basically continue to work better and run faster. But with public APIs, you are letting go of control and sometimes that means letting go of performance. Letting go of control – your data, your source code – is a great trend – leads to more innovation, results in more user- vs. company-centric applications, but, it has consequences.

I still love flickr. I just wish they would have upgraded their API on different day than the FF nominations.

*I went back to “most recent”, which is too bad, interesting really does return interesting photos.

5 comments
  1. Doug says: January 11, 20068:52 am

    Also – flickr fine print (basically “stop whining”) –
    Flickr services are experimental and are currently offered to outside developers on an ad hoc basis with no guarantee of uptime or availability of continued service. We reserve the right to disable access to external applications at any time.

  2. Doug says: January 11, 200612:36 pm

    Flickr is fast again. More than anything, this was just bad timing.

  3. [...] Service dependency on the new web, Published October 27 Public APIs – Arghh, Published January 11th on Forest and the Trees Web 2.0 and the Drive-by upgrade, Published October 24 on O’Reilly Weblogs [...]

  4. Forest and the Trees » I ♥ Public APIs says: January 16, 20068:40 pm

    [...] Last week they drove me crazy, but, the benefits of public APIs vastly outweigh the disadvantages. Richard MacManus has a good summary here of why public APIs, and the trends they are driving (Web 2.0), are so interesting: mash-ups, web as platform, the importance of letting go of your data, etc.. It’s all great stuff – and any one of those reasons should be enough to stop you from giving up on flickr. But the trend I’m most interested in is front-end innovation and data visualization. Nothing is enabling the development of interesting interfaces more than the availability of public data. The initial front-end innovations were the emergence of Ajax and mash-ups. But now Flash is playing a bigger role. And while mash-ups still get most of the press, and certainly housingmaps will forever be the Web 2.0 poster child (deservedly so), you don’t need to mash to innovate. [...]

  5. benningblog » Grizzly Man says: January 19, 20067:22 pm

    [...] Service dependency on the new web, Published October 27 Public APIs – Arghh, Published January 11th on Forest and the Trees Web 2.0 and the Drive-by upgrade, Published October 24 on O’Reilly Weblogs [...]

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