ENTRIES TAGGED "APIs"

Upward Mobility: Overly Defensive Programmer

Sometimes, the best defense is a good offensive core dump

By now, most meme-aware internet surfers have encountered Overly Attached Girlfriend  (and the Rule 63 counterpart, Overly Attached Boyfriend.) What isn’t as well known is that they have a brother, Overly Defensive Programmer (ODP, for short.)

ODP is a mobile developer who lives in the constant fear that the server-side folks are going to subtly change an API out from under him, making his app crash. To avoid this, he puts in code like this:

We’ve all seen code like this. The developer didn’t want to accidentally cause a fatal error by trying to get the objectId parameter if the payload was missing, or to try accessing the objectId if it was missing. And if objectId is an optional field, this is totally the way to go.

The thing is, objectId sounds like it is probably a critical piece of data, without which the application will fail to operate properly. You want the application to crash if it goes missing, because that means it will crash during QA testing, rather than silently ignoring the problem and possibly malfunctioning in a way that QA misses.
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Developer Week in Review: Are APIs intellectual property?

Developer Week in Review: Are APIs intellectual property?

APIs may be IP, and C remains popular, even when obfuscated.

We look at the legal status of APIs and how the Oracle versus Google suit may be affecting it, along with the relative popularity of languages and the world's worst C programs.

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Developer Week in Review: The hijacking of an insulin pump

Developer Week in Review: The hijacking of an insulin pump

Medical devices are remotely hacked, Google Maps get a price tag, and Linus Torvalds really doesn't like a certain language.

If you own an insulin pump, someone out there might have a hack with your name on it. Google decides to make high-volume Maps API users pony up some cash, and the creator of Linux goes after C++.

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Innovation from the Edges: PayPal Taps the Developer Community to Build Next-Gen Payment Apps

Innovation from the Edges: PayPal Taps the Developer Community to Build Next-Gen Payment Apps

Developer Challenge offers big prizes for best apps using new APIs

Two enduring tenets of Web 2.0 are “A platform beats an application every time” and “All the smart people don’t work for you.” Online payment giant PayPal took those bits of wisdom to heart and recently announced the PayPal X APIs, a new group of developer APIs designed to enable new applications that can more tightly integrate with PayPal services. To encourage developers to create some awesome applications with the APIs, PayPal is offering prizes $100,000 and $50,000 (in cash plus waived transaction fees) for the best new applications. We caught up with PayPal’s director for their Developer Network, Naveed Anwar, and he filled us in on what the new PayPal APIs bring to the table for application designers.

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Four short links: 13 August 2009

Four short links: 13 August 2009

  1. Under the Hood of App Inventor for Android — regular readers know I’m a big fan of visual programming language Scratch, and apparently Google are too. They’ve got twelve university classes testing App Inventor for Android, a visual connect-the-bits programming environment for Android. University classes probably because one of the co-creators is Hal Abelson, coauthor of the definitive programming textbook. Also found online: the PR-type announcement, a Professor using it, and @AppInv (nothing juicy on Twitter–it looks like might be a channel for tech support for the students). (via Hacker News)
  2. Google Web Optimizer Case Study (Four Hour Work Week) — GWO manages A/B tests for you, with a lot of statistical analysis. It’s a fascinating read to see how these should be done. Every equation may halve the readership of a book, but every table of numbers and relevancy analysis doubles the value of a post like this. (via Hacker News)
  3. Opening Up The BBC’s Natural History Archive — the BBC are releasing programme segments and a whole lot of metadata around their programming. Audio and video segmented, tagged with DBpedia terms, and aggregated into a URI structure based on natural history concepts: species, habitats, adaptations, etc. Gorgeous!
  4. Yahoo! Term Extraction API to CloseInternally, both services
    share a backend data source that is closing down, so the publicly-facing YDN
    services will be closing as well.
    I think it’s the most significant casualty of Y! outsourcing search to MSFT, as this API was used by a lot of projects. (via Simon Willison)
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