Dave Winer says that Google is not good at APIs

Here is an interesting post from Dave Winer on Google and Open Social. He concludes with a broad claim: “Google is good at doing AJAXy web UIs, they make users happy, but they’re not very good at APIs. This one is a loser, for sure.”

Dave is plain wrong on that: As part of streets/feeddo, we have been using Google APIs (gdata, search, auth and undocumented google reader API for about 11 months now) – and people who played with the preview of feeddo know that we go pretty deep in terms of integration.

The result: an integration that works without us having to ever meet or talk with anyone at Google. Never! Not a single time!

The secret sauce: under the thin Javascript layer developers see, Google has a set of very clean RESTful APIs based on JSON and ATOM. The very same API the Google teams use internally to build their AJAXy web UIs (no lipstick on the pig here).

@Dave: All APIs evolve over time but this is as good as it gets. If Open Social fails, it won’t be due to how the API is exposed but the lack of community and the issues around security, authentication and access control.

Update Dec 14th, 2007: Yesterday, we had our first integration hickup: Google changed one of the API from XML to JSON. The total time to fix the problem was less than a day (about 3 hours).

Author: @feedly

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