Skip to main content

How To Not Open Your API Enough

So, I didn't see any opening for contributing in any useful way to the discussion about Google's new Chart API, until I read this post. How dare they call this service open. They should have been clear that their greed has lead them to secretly hide abilities of the service from the public, in an obvious attempt to corner the market on really cool graphs in web sites.

My theory is that they hope everyone uses their "Open" Chart API, which doesn't include the full service's abilities, so that their own charts, using the entire breadth of charting power, are inherently better than yours. Beware the wickedness of the corporate greed, my friend.

My sarcasm drips onto the floor. Now, I mean no disrespect to Marty, but this kind of post really does get under my skin from time to time. Maybe it just struck me at the wrong time. So what if Google has features they didn't document? So what if they use a different URL to access the API? Maybe the undocumented features are still in flux. Maybe they like to see how many people outside Google are using the charts. There are plenty of good reasons for everything he talks about them doing with this and claims it to have some anti-open nature, but I just don't see any of it.

For Google's Motivations This Means...

None of it really matters, in the end. Use the API or don't, but I don't see a gain for them in the parts of the API they are letting us use, nor do I care if they do gain. Gaining from something doesn't negate your ability to do it for the reasons outside your gain. My job involves writing software for a company that helps low-income families find affordable housing. I get paid for my job, so does that mean I can't lay claim to any good nature behind it?

Comments

JMC said…
When I read Marty's post, I felt the same way. The lack of documentation for certain elements of their charting API does not indicate to me that google is trying to falsely portray themselves as "open". It simply tells me that there are parts of it that may or may not be finished to their satisfaction. I think we will likely see these (and other) features slowly trickle in to the documentation.

Popular posts from this blog

Why I Switched From Git to Microsoft OneDrive

I made the unexpected move with a string of recent projects to drop Git to sync between my different computers in favor of OneDrive, the file sync offering from Microsoft. Its like Dropbox, but "enterprise."

Feeling a little ashamed at what I previously would have scoffed at should I hear of it from another developer, I felt a little write up of the why and the experience could be a good idea. Now, I should emphasize that I'm not dropping Git for all my projects, just specific kinds of projects. I've been making this change in habit for projects that are just for me, not shared with anyone else. It has been especially helpful in projects I work on sporadically. More on why a little later.

So, what drove me away from Git, exactly?

On the smallest projects, like game jam hacks, I just wanted to code. I didn't want to think about revisions and commit messages. I didn't need branching or merges. I didn't even need to rollback to another version, ever. I just …

Respect and Code Reviews

Code Reviews in a development team only function best, or possible at all, when everyone approaches them with respect. That’s something I’ve usually taken for granted because I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing developers who shine not just in their technical skills but in their interpersonal skills on a team. That isn’t always the case, so I’m going to put into words something that often exists just in assumptions.
You have to respect your code. This is first only because the nature and intent of code reviews are to safeguard the quality of your code, so even having code reviews demonstrates a baseline of respect for that code. But, maybe not everyone on the team has the same level of respect or entered a team with existing review traditions that they aren’t acquainted with.
There can be culture shock when you enter a team that’s really heavy on code reviews, but also if you enter a team or interact with a colleague who doesn’t share that level of respect for the process or…

CARDIAC: The Cardboard Computer

I am just so excited about this.


CARDIAC. The Cardboard Computer. How cool is that? This piece of history is amazing and better than that: it is extremely accessible. This fantastic design was built in 1969 by David Hagelbarger at Bell Labs to explain what computers were to those who would otherwise have no exposure to them. Miraculously, the CARDIAC (CARDboard Interactive Aid to Computation) was able to actually function as a slow and rudimentary computer. 
One of the most fascinating aspects of this gem is that at the time of its publication the scope it was able to demonstrate was actually useful in explaining what a computer was. Could you imagine trying to explain computers today with anything close to the CARDIAC?

It had 100 memory locations and only ten instructions. The memory held signed 3-digit numbers (-999 through 999) and instructions could be encoded such that the first digit was the instruction and the second two digits were the address of memory to operate on. The only re…