Google Data API

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I’m currently using Google Data API at work. This API offers RESTful interfaces for several Google services, such as Calendar, Picasa, You Tube, Blogger, Google Documents, among others. There are also client libraries for Java, C# and Python, but these are actually tools to facilitate, rather than new interfaces. All client libraries access the RESTful interfaces, so by all acounts the API is RESTful.

What I’d like to comment is how easy it was for me the to get up to speed with the API. There are several pages explaining the API’s features, the URIs, their use of HTTP method, return types, etc. Their design is pretty much compliant to all REST best practices (although they do use some query string parameters ocasionally). Being very familiar with this kind of web services, most of what I did was looking and saying: “Ok , this is how i expected it to be”. And after less than one hour I was ready to begin using the API properly.

Worth noting is that there were no “Interface Document” to look at. Not anything similar to WSDL or any other IDL. What was there was just a simple and RESTful API that was pretty easy to use after you knew what the resources were and which operations they support. Several pages describing their protocol and the XML entities they use were enough for me to know how I was supposed to integrate with a reasonable amount of their services.

I don’t even want of to think of how would it be if they had WS-*. Just to read the WSDL documents would take me more time than to read all their RESTful documentation. There would be a lot of operations and messages described in their WSDLs, and it’d be a massive reading to get the grasp of the API.

Fortunately Google (the most powerful web company) is embracing a RESTful design and it should probably take many other companies with it. They’re also supporting the use of Atom and Atom Publishing Protocol, so many nice things should keep coming. Apache Abdera is already integrating Google Feed Server code, and hopefully we’ll be able to use Abdera for most of Google’s services.

Very very nice! By the way, I took a good look in the source code of Google Data API and it’s very well implemented. They have a very interesting approach to manipulate feeds and entries. It makes it very easy to model a lot of stuff using just feeds and entries. It was an inspiring code inspection and I’m thankful Google also embraces open source 🙂 These guys are good!


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