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Are Googlers Too Smart For Their Own Good?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the keep-it-complicated-smarty dept.

Google 307

theodp writes "If you're a mere mortal, don't be surprised if your first reaction to Google Storage for Developers is 'WTF?!' Offering the kind of 'user-friendly' API one might expect from a bunch of computer science Ph.D.s, Google Storage even manages to overcomplicate the simple act of copying files. Which raises the question: Are Googlers with 'world-class programming skills' capable of producing straightforward, simple-to-use programming interfaces for ordinary humans?"

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Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293442)

As a developer who deals daily with RESTful interfaces at his job, I found this to be rather intuitive. It may be complicated but would you be so kind as to elaborate on what is unnecessarily complicated about this interface? You might think "Oh, you're just moving data around" but add on top of that security like SSL support, scalability, namespaces and the ability to store very large hundred GB objects then ... Yeah, the end result is going to be a bit more than PUT <Data>Object</Data>. It's well documented as far as I can tell. I haven't used it so I don't know if this documentation is worthless but it looks comprehensive at first glance.

So, theodp, if you were a developer you would look at this and see a set of interfaces to web services done in a RESTful manner. You would say, "Oh, my users want to use Google storage but they need more of a drag and drop interface." Then you would spend a couple weeks using Ruby on Rails and Scriptaculous to make virtual folders or buckets or whatever your application calls them and using the elegance of RoR with the UI of Scriptaculous so the user can move their photos or data from your server to the cloud or vice versa. You could really use anything you want to interact with it but I would bet these two GPL compatible tools would result in the most rapid of web application development.

So three sentences with links to Google besmirching them for being smart will get you on the frontpage of Slashdot these days? Really the substance of the 'story' here is essentially "WTF?! So complicated it must Suck!"

Offering the kind of 'user-friendly' API ...

Here's a final hint: API stands for Application Programming Interface is not supposed to be user-friendly. It's supposed to be developer-friendly. I hope I don't sound like a Google fanboy but this is a nontrivial task and I would defend the API they have produced. The documentation is far more than you would get from a CS PhD. You want me to take notice of your mindless drivel, theodp? Get off your ass, code an interface for this API and then point out how the API and documentation is lacking in a step by step post. That would be helpful and deserve a place in Slashdot's programming section. What you have here is not.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (1)

CTalkobt (81900) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293536)

I concur with the parent poster... the api seems, for it's purpose, straight-forward and easy to use.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32294266)

I concur with your concurral. I have no idea what a RESTful application is (never programmed one), but this API seems straightforward enough. It's also well documented, it has examples, etc. Perhaps the OP would enjoy a line of work that involves shovels and dirt.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293574)

I agree.

Slashdot is so non-technical these days it's a complete fucking joke. Ignorance just spews on anything even remotely related to software development. Please drop "news from nerds" from the slogan. Replace with "lip service for sycophants".

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (5, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294236)

It isn't slashdot that has become non-nerdy, it's that being a nerd has become "cool", very unlike it was when slashdot started. These days, anybody who knows that you make your computer stop by clicking "start" thinks (s)he's a nerd, even if they couldn't copy a file without a GUI, let alone have ever heard of Linux or BSD or any other non-Microsoft OS (which these days actually have GUIs).

In the old days, a submission like this most likely wouldn't have been posted, but now we have the firehose, where every nerd wannabe can vote a story up. There are still very good, technical stories here (there was one a couple of days ago about mathematics) -- you just have to ignore the ones like this one voted up by the wannabes. That said, I haven't looked at Google's APIs.

God, I never thought I'd see the day when we would be considered cool! Just laugh smugly and enjoy being cool instead of being a wannabe.

That said, sometimes I say stupid things here (probably a lot this week, I've had the flu and it's affected my mental faculties).

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (1)

jaaron (551839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293576)

Exactly. The API is almost identical to Amazon S3. It's just simple REST. What did theodp expect? A simple desktop GUI? That's what this API is designed for developers to create. This is a non-story.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294268)

If the API is identical, Google could create significant pricing pressure on S3, as I'm sure GOOG has *a lot* more spare disk space lying around.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (5, Funny)

mondoterrifico (317567) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293584)

Coding is hard! Let's go shopping!

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (3, Funny)

toxonix (1793960) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294080)

but wait! I'm submitting an article to /. about how hard google is! I want to go to the apple store! apple store!

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (4, Funny)

sribe (304414) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293614)

I hope I don't sound like a Google fanboy but this is a nontrivial task and I would defend the API they have produced.

Heck, I had the exact same reaction to this article, and I haven't even looked at the API! My reaction was based solely on the wording theodp's atrocious post.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293628)

uh, i just looked a little at the code and the documentation and it seems easy to use, really can't see what is so complicated there... more simple than that is oversimplifying in my opinion

well, java is doing that to world programmers i guess.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293770)

well, java is doing that to world programmers i guess.

Yeah, except for that little fact that people have been doing RESTful webservices in Java for years and years. The only Java programmers who would have issues working with a RESTful are idiots who would have problems no matter what language they were using.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32294256)

i think i expressed myself wrong...
i mean that things like java are always oversimplifying programming, and there are a lot of people just cant understand things that are so simple because they are used with drag'n'drop interface, and they call themselves programmers...

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (1)

Giltron (592095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293644)

I agree with parent. The API seems to be developer friendly. It is much more "friendly" to use this API then to manually write the code yourself to handle the reliability and scalability Google takes care of for you.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293678)

It isn't exactly confusing, all the actions map into standard filesystem interactions.

I think theodp probably has an alias for "ls" called "list_folder".

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (2, Insightful)

qmx (933029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293752)

based on article, I doubt he uses a cli

Rule of the 5 Year Old and 7 Year Old (-1, Offtopic)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293730)

anything that is user facing should be able to be explained to a common 5 year old (hint if you have enough developers available then you should have access to at least one).

Now of course a bunch of "magic" could be going on in the background but then you should be able to use any common document set (which should be readable by a 7 year old) to figure out whats what. (again you most likely have access to one of these)

Re:Rule of the 5 Year Old and 7 Year Old (2, Insightful)

siride (974284) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293790)

I think this is a terrible idea. It violates the principle of "make it as simple as possible, but not any simpler". Some things are just complicated. Even if the UI is nice and clean, what it interacts with is not and the users have to know about that. I don't think any UI could be understood by a 5 year old and I'm fine with that.

Re:Rule of the 5 Year Old and 7 Year Old (4, Insightful)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293830)

anything that is user facing should be able to be explained to a common 5 year old (hint if you have enough developers available then you should have access to at least one).

As the parent to your post noted: we are talking about an API here. Precisely none of it is user facing.

Re:Rule of the 5 Year Old and 7 Year Old (3, Insightful)

The Flymaster (112510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294032)

ALL of it is user facing. That's the very point of an API. The user is the developer.

This is a very, very important concept. As I said in my other post, this is a good API, a usable API. But so many APIs aren't usable. API usability should ALWAYS be considered when releasing a public library/service.

Re:Rule of the 5 Year Old and 7 Year Old (0)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293888)

anything that is user facing should be able to be explained to a common 5 year old

Why would an API be user facing? Are you an idiot who doesn't know the difference between a UI and an API?

Re:Rule of the 5 Year Old and 7 Year Old (0, Offtopic)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293984)

The API is for developers, not Apple fanatics.

Re:Rule of the 5 Year Old and 7 Year Old (1)

ukdmbfan (904348) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294164)

I'm both, so should I be able to or not be able to understand the API? It all makes perfect sense to me.

Re:Rule of the 5 Year Old and 7 Year Old (0, Redundant)

Wovel (964431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294030)

It is not a user facing system, hence the title "for developers".

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (3, Insightful)

Cylix (55374) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293772)

Seems like a adver-troll by proposing such a silly argument.

It's a straight forward documented restful api. No biggie, written a few myself and it is always a bonus to get some decent usage examples.

I'm not sure you would be classified as a google fanboy for pointing out the obvious.

Looking over the API and the simpler nature of the subject I doubt it would take a few weeks. If you have some code lingering around to manage similar API's you can sling together an app over a weekend.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293860)

One more "looks fine to me" on the pile.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293868)

I can't agree more. Not sure when APIs were designed to be user-friendly, but if that is the case I'd sure as hell be out of a job since my life revolves around writing good User Interfaces and knowing how to utilize APIs to make things user-friendly. There is nothing overly complex about the API in question here, actually I think it is quite elegant.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (1)

The Flymaster (112510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293914)

API stands for Application Programming Interface is not supposed to be user-friendly. It's supposed to be developer-friendly.

This is terribly, terribly wrong. Developers ARE users. API usability is a huge field that needs to be addressed.

That said, I don't see anything that bad about this API. Seems similar to Amazon's.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293946)

This guy is a bit of an idiot. There's a ridiculously simple Python wrapper right here [google.com] , based on the Boto S3 library, that Google has already built/customized for him if he doesn't feel like writing his own REST wrapper in the language of his choice.

They provide examples there in a few lines of code each for uploading, copying files, reading metadata, deleting files, etc.

That's about as easy as a web-based file system is going to get. Duh.

If he wants to talk directly to the REST API from the language of his choice, that's fine, but it's really no worse than any other web service API out there in terms of complexity. Or just take somebody else's S3 wrapper library and adapt it like Google did - this probably wouldn't be more than a few hours work (or a few minutes - I haven't looked at how similar the APIs are).

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293962)

Yes but you are making the huge assumption that either theodp or kdawson actually know anything about programming. Such a claim is highly suspect.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (-1, Redundant)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293978)

I'm ready to take a 'redundant' to support this. OP, learn REST. This is a pretty good API. Sorry you haven't adjusted to the Web way of thinking.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (1)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294006)

In fact it's *exactly* the same API used for its competitor, Amazon S3. If you use boto to access AWS, you'll be right at home using boto to access Google Storage.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294020)

I agree. Apparently the author of the FA has no understanding of the purpose of this service. It is similar to AmazonS3 or EMC Atmos online with a similar interface.

Re:Hint: "For Developers" Means "For Developers" (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294234)

I'm not getting this either. It don't look too hard for a developer to me. If you are a user, what could be easier? With Gmail you now have drag and drop to attach a file with HTML5 support. There is getting to be developers doing all kinds of cool stuff with the tools provided and they have anything you could want. They change stuff really fast but that's not really a complaint.

I'm still not getting this post at all.

If everyone was supposed to understand it... (5, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293464)

They wouldn't call it code.

Re:If everyone was supposed to understand it... (4, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293768)

The da Vinci Code begs to differ.

Re:If everyone was supposed to understand it... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294014)

I don't consider that a counter-example. I can't understand anything about that.

Re:If everyone was supposed to understand it... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32294158)

The da Vinci Code begs to differ.

I still don't understand why anyone would want to read it. Does that count?

Re:If everyone was supposed to understand it... (1)

Spaham (634471) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294048)

just to add some pedantry to your joke
code doesn't mean cypher, it just means that it's a set of rules as to how you're supposed to write things (in this case). (I tried not to use codify in my definition)...

Huh? (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293476)

Soooo, like, some software is hard to use?

Maybe it's the pills I'm on, maybe it's the lack of caffeine, but could someone maybe explain the point of this article to me?

Re:Huh? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293528)

We didn't have a Google story for over two hours, so we had to post what was available.

Damn you, Google! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293958)

They just had to go and put an embedded playable Pac-Man flash game up as their logo today (30th Anniversary of the game).

Now I won't get any freakin' work done today.

Simple Interface from Google? (0, Troll)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293478)

I've always thought Google was known for their simple to use interfaces. Just look at their home page or Gmail for a couple examples. Even on a lot of their other services like custom search engines and Google Analytics they have a UI that's simple to use. Sure some of their things start out a little rocky for developers, but that's the case for most services. Given time they'll improve.

Re:Simple Interface from Google? (4, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293596)

UI != API. A proper API doesn't need to be simple, it needs to work properly and consistently. Not to get too subtle, but a complex API for something like this is perfectly fine as long as it is not overly complicated, if you get what I mean.

Re:Simple Interface from Google? (0, Troll)

The Flymaster (112510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294078)

This simply isn't correct. An API is the very epitome of a UI. When a company releases code to their customer, that they intend for their customer to USE, that customer is the User. And the interface to that code, the API, is the User Interface. It must be designed well, and must be usable. That said, I agree with the general idea that this particular API is well designed.

Gmail and simple interface - just the search!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293670)

Since when did Gmail have a simple interface. It has a lot of features.... and they have been beating the folder thing to death (Gmail's lack of folders ..).. labels.. labels in labels... yes it is all good.. and hope it reaches somewhere.

The only easy to use simple interface was for Google Search. With Bing's entry - Google seems to be hyperventilating and trying out the clumsy looking links on the left hand side.Android is not an easy interface... maybe it is compared to Motorola and Samsung phones... but that is like comparing stuff with the gunk at the bottom of the barrel.

I love Google for a lot of things - but truthfully, they are no where compared to interface standouts like Apple, which make interfaces hide the complexity of the crap below.

Re:Gmail and simple interface - just the search!? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293766)

Holy shit, you just called GMail a complicated interface? Despite it being nearly exactly the same as every single other webmail interface?

Re:Gmail and simple interface - just the search!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293864)

Dude you are either blind or too googley. It has taken them forever to get here - Yahoo is still so much better in terms of webmail - oh and for crap - check out hotmail.

Google's first pass at Gmail was remarkable only for one thing - the 10GB or 1GB of storage space they provided! Otherwise they have had a huge issue with adoption. Not because of the addresses but because they wanted to eliminate folders and stick to tagging each piece of mail. While behind the scenes they are similar, implementation has messed up the whole damn thing!

Re:Gmail and simple interface - just the search!? (1)

rcuhljr (1132713) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294144)

Oh god don't mention yahoo mail as better then g-mail. It's search function randomly breaks. I mean it just stops searching. I submitted the bug to them and they basically said "Yeah that happens, we'll poke the database from the back end and see if it clears up." Now every time I search for something I have to wonder if what I'm looking for isn't there, or did my search break silently again? Even on the user interface side it's annoying, the what's new tab you can't close. If you accidentally shrink your preview frame it starts opening all mail in new tabs. It's just generally ugly and trying hard to be unintuitive as a webmail app can be.

Methinks it may be the converse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293490)

Anyone can make complicated (and not so complicated) things look even more complicated. The top programmer is the one who makes complicated things look simple.

It's just not for regular users (5, Insightful)

kikito (971480) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293510)

In other news: the space shuttle UI is too complicated for regular car drivers! duh.

Re:It's just not for regular users (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294046)

This isn't just "funny", it's actually insightful -- if you get the true meaning. Either that or I'm imagining things.

Yes (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293512)

Whatever happened to simple interfaces, like:

"Would you like to play Global Thermonuclear War? [YES|NO]"

Re:Yes (1)

Krau Ming (1620473) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294028)

gimme a Y, gimme an E...what a sec...hello there, Miss Doesn't-find-me-sexually-attractive-anymore. I just tripled my productivity.

That API looks fine to me (2, Interesting)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293540)

The only nonintuitive thing is the name "bucket", which might be better called "zone" or "filesystem". Other than that, it looks like it provides just about what I'd expect of a high-level filesystem representation.

Sheesh, just think about what the complaints would be if they provided something closer to VFS-type mappings so people ended up commonly rewriting half of FUSE to get their data where they like.

Re:That API looks fine to me (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293610)

The only nonintuitive thing is the name "bucket"

That's what kdawson said when he read the api spec. Or was it fuck-it?

Re:That API looks fine to me (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294126)

I think it was suck-it!

Of course, that's what he says for *every* story he posts.

Re:That API looks fine to me (1)

RetroRichie (259581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293676)

I agree. In fact, this looks very similar to the Amazon API which I think is fairly straight forward. People that don't understand how to use this will all migrate toward a UI anyway--someone will build one that serves basic file functions.

Re:That API looks fine to me (1)

volsung (378) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294088)

I assume they used the word "bucket," because that's what Amazon calls the same abstraction in S3. And that's really the target audience for this storage system: developers who are currently using Amazon S3 or are familiar with it. The idiot complaining about this API is angry that he went to a hardware store and didn't find the pipes already in the shape of his sprinkler system, possibly because he doesn't know what a hardware store is.

API's user friendly? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293546)

Since when does an API need to be user friendly? I found Google's documentation much more user friendly and straightforward than say Microsoft's .NET documentation on File I/O. It's not an end-user product. Just skimming over the contents of the linked sites, it seems very easy to use even if you're not an advanced programmer. If you don't understand what's on those websites after some thorough reading, please hand in your geek card.

Re:API's user friendly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293698)

If you are a developer writing programs using the API, you are a user of said API. As a developer I want the things I use to be easy to use. Now, was that so hard to understand for all those of you who keep insisting developer!=user?

Or do you subscribe to the C/C++ school of "if it's not cryptic and hard to use enough, I won't look as 31337 when I use it"?

Re:API's user friendly? (2, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293796)

What exactly is hard to use or cryptic about a RESTful API? If such a thing strains your brain too much you probably are in the wrong line of work. I'd recommend you get a job flipping burgers but even that may be way more than your intellectually capable of.

Re:API's user friendly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293876)

it's an api for a distributed, remote consistent file system, what you would expect? it's easier than the one in java.io, for one. if this is not simple enough for you, I guess you have to pay someone to build your lego.

APIs are not written for end-users. (3, Insightful)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293570)

This isn't to discredit the idea of ease of use or good design - god knows Google graphs requires way more hoops than it should (compare, say, Visifire).

I think it's easy to look at the developer's guide and just flee in terror, but honestly if that's your reaction, Google storage API is probably not the droid you're looking for. If you need simple file sharing that a typical user can appreciate without having to read a manual, Dropbox may be more appropriate; Google Storage API is written with developers in mind.. I'm a big fan of some of Google's APIs, Dropbox, and Google Docs for sure.

News Flash! (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293582)

Something not understood by Slashdotter! Film at 11.

Meanwhile, slashdot editors too dumb for own good (5, Insightful)

jaymz2k4 (790806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293600)

I was expecting something really crazy and complex but what I saw was well documented and made sense. Seriously, how on earth is this front page news on slashdot?? I wont repeat the many well made statements that "API's arent for users" above. I'm just surprised this has made it to the front page as a developers link. I sure hope I don't work with the sub. at any point if he thinks this is an example of people being "too smart for their own good". /saddened

Re:Meanwhile, slashdot editors too dumb for own go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293666)

They were expecting people not to read any of the linked resources and just take a jab at Google, arguing back and forth.

Re:Meanwhile, slashdot editors too dumb for own go (2, Funny)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293712)

You could just set your filter for "mere mortal" appropriately and you won't see these things anymore.

The editors know what they're doing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293976)

The editors here know what they're doing. This submission was clearly accepted because it'll get fools like you and all of the other Google Defenders here all agitated and posting comments. Then you'll repeatedly check back for the next few hours, to see if anyone has replied to you. Meanwhile, all of this checking generates ad impressions, making Slashdot money.

Re:Meanwhile, slashdot editors too dumb for own go (1)

ronocdh (906309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294008)

Seriously, how on earth is this front page news on slashdot??

One word: kdawson.

It isn't their design (4, Insightful)

igb (28052) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293654)

As the documents point out, it's the same API used for Amazon EC3 and others. They're implementing someone else's protocol.

Re:It isn't their design (4, Insightful)

SashaMan (263632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294044)

Mod parent up. This is from the docs:

Interoperability
Google Storage is interoperable with a large number of cloud storage tools and libraries that work with services such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Eucalyptus Systems, Inc.

Basiacally, google is essentially building on what has become an industry standard for cloud storage.

This article submission is either from an idiot or a troll.

uh? Maybe I'm missing something..... (1)

jabjoe (1042100) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293658)

If this a storage system to be used as a filesystem, why does it need a API? Write a OS filesystem driver then everything can use it. Easy enough to do in userspace with FUSE on Linux/BSD/OSX and Dokan on Windows. Everything is a filesystem, and this really seams to be a filesystem, so make it a filesystem. But maybe I'm missing something here.....

Re:uh? Maybe I'm missing something..... (3, Informative)

vrai (521708) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293902)

But maybe I'm missing something here.....

Yes you are. This is not a "storage system to be used as a filesystem" it's an implementation of the Amazon S3 interface that provides remote, redundant key/value storage (where the value in this case is a bucket of bytes). There's nothing to stop you implementing a file system on top of it; but the API provided by Google is at a lower level than that. Which is a good thing as a standard file system is not necessarily the best way to use this kind of storage.

Re:uh? Maybe I'm missing something..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293908)

this really seams to be a filesystem, so make it a filesystem. But maybe I'm missing something here.....

Yes, the job security of tens of thousands of developers employed to write enterprise code. A FUSE driver in C/C++ would be usable but my preference would still be FTP/SFTP.

Are you one of those types (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293688)

who flood developer-boards with questions that typically look like

" Sir Sir please help sir I have project due sir I need full workking code by tomorrow sir" ??

If so, you would expect everything to be point and click, I guess.

API is not a UI (2, Interesting)

BunnyClaws (753889) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293692)

Just a quick FYI, API does not mean UI. I noticed some of the slashdotters were conflating the two.

Re:API is not a UI (4, Funny)

wurp (51446) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293846)

Do you think anyone who would conflate API with UI will know what conflate means?

Yes. Next question. (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293710)

Seriously, Google has a number of products with extremely simple, user friendly interfaces. Their search engine, you know, the reason that they are who they are, the reason that anyone knows about them, is a prime example. Type in what you want, it finds what you need. No special syntax needed, no complex logical operations to try and get results, just key in terms or phrases and you get good results.

What kind of question is that?

Re:Yes. Next question. (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293986)

No special syntax needed, no complex logical operations to try and get results, just key in terms or phrases and you get good results.

Haven't we been doing this since the early 90s?

Hotbot
yahoo
askjeeves
altavista
...

It's because you have more control no your searches ('filetype:jpg',...) with relevant results and hat made google what it is, is "unintrusive and related advertizing". It used to be about the "most flashy", "most blinky", "largest", "impossible to click away" and what have you.

(Before popupblockers, oh lord.. you couldn't surf porn at all because each time your IE4 or Netscape Navigator would hit a page with a thousand popups your PC with 32MB ram would choke. And then, you have only one page to look at at the same time. If you opened 3, your PC would bluescreen or you'd try to find "tweaks" to strip your system.)

If you feel it's because "google put a textbox with a button on a page, which made them what they are now", you must've joined the internet game mightly late.

It's "the issue" now, by the way, that advertisers are looking for "targetted, relevant advertizing", and we are now once again in an oversaturation of something that used to work. It's overdone, and it's why they want their greedy hands on your facebook data and general statistics.

Above average developers are NOT GOOD (-1, Offtopic)

Teckla (630646) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293744)

I tend to put software developers into four groups:

1. Below average.

2. Average.

3. Above average.

4. Well above average.

Group #1 is obviously bad, but I also think group #3 is bad, and here's why.

Above average developers tend to create overly complex solutions, because hey...they're above average. They can understand it, no problem. They can maintain it, no problem. But their designs and code are difficult to maintain for below average and average developers, which make up the bulk of developers out there.

Well above average developers create designs and code with average developers in mind. They make sure their designs are as simple as they reasonably can be, so that it's easy to maintain and enhance later on.

Fear above average developers, because they create designs and code that only a small percentage of developers can reliably and comfortably maintain.

Re:Above average developers are NOT GOOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293834)

The fun part is that groups #1 (and sometimes #2) usually can't tell the difference between groups #3 and #4, or worse, actively prefer #3 over #4.

Re:Above average developers are NOT GOOD (1)

volsung (378) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293992)

I tend to think of your taxonomy in terms of design outcomes:

4. Sufficiently engineered
3. Over-engineered
2. Under-engineered
1. Doesn't work or works on accident.

That is to say, average developers tend to nail the common case, but lack the experience or knowledge to spot the corner cases. Your "above average" developer wants to demonstrate his knowledge by optimizing for as many corner cases as possible at the expense of simplicity in the common case. The well-above average developer can balance the common and the exceptional.

Both over and under-engineered solutions are "bad," but the under-engineered solution usually has the advantage of less code to delete when you have to redesign everything. :)

The answer (1)

Rallias Ubernerd (1760460) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293784)

Possibly, if they realize how big of morons they are. I mean really? You own major shares of the market and make little attempt at making freeking money? Someone is not too smart.

Ob. Quote (5, Insightful)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293788)

There's been an awful lot of discussion about what is or isn't simple, and people have gotten a pretty sophisticated notion of simplicity, but I'm not sure it has helped.
                                            -- Ward Cunningham

Read (past-tense) the Bleeping Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293806)

It looks like theodp and kdawson actually succeeded in getting a lot of people to really look at this new development, gauging by all of the feedback we're getting. :)

DroidDraw (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293820)

Are Googlers with 'world-class programming skills' capable of producing straightforward, simple-to-use programming interfaces for ordinary humans?"

The mere existence of DroidDraw would indicate "no".

Explaining American Football to Chinese (3, Interesting)

Spacecase (121674) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293822)

Things become much more complicated then first impression when you try to really explain something. For example I went to a football game with a group of Chinese grad students and they asked me how a team can score points. I thought to myself this is easy, and began to explain the rules.

1. Touchdowns are worth 7 points... err they are worth 6 points technically
2. After a touchdown the scoring team can decide to kick the ball through the uprights for 1 point
Or
3. The scoring team can decide to run another regular play and if they enter the end-zone again on that 1 play they get 2 points.
4. Fields goals are 3 points and are scored when the team on offense can kick the ball through the uprights.
5. The defense can score points if they can tackle an offensive player in the end-zone while they are holding the football. The defensive team then gets 2 points and gets the ball kicked to them on the following play instead of the normal system where the scoring team kicks the ball to the other team.
6. If the defense can steal the ball and run into the end-zone they are facing then it is a touchdown and rule 2 and 3 apply.

By the end of this discussion they were more confused then when we started. So when you say how hard can it be to explain how to store a file questions like.

1. How to delete?
2. How to rename?
3. How to create folders or other organizational structures?
4. How to move items between organizational structures?
5. How to copy an item already in storage?
6. How to download multiple files?
7. Can security be set or changed?
8. Oh yeah and how to I upload a file in the first place?

The more precision you apply to a discussion the more complicated they tend to get. Just like a touchdown is 7 points is easier to understand, upload a file is easy too.

In a word... (1)

Tau Neutrino (76206) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293838)

Are Googlers Too Smart For Their Own Good?

No.

After skimming the file-copying code... (2, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293870)

After skimming the file-copying code, I agree with the people who say it's not complicated. I'm not a Python programmer either. The example functions they gave look like good starting points for wrappers that would provide the higher level, "get, send, delete" sort of functionality the poster wants. The only thing that confuses me is why you have to have "config = boto.config" when the config variable isn't used in the rest of the code. To me, it looks like you're only interested in the side effects of retrieving the configuration and not the result. Couldn't you just "boto.config()" or something at program startup? Of course that's probably more of a Python question from somebody who is ony passably familiar with the language. It's nothing complicated about the API.

Sign of the times (1)

UseCase (939095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293904)

On the short its an api and not for general user consumption.

The fact that non developers are even talking about this is a problematic symptom of our industry's current overexposure with respect libraries, OSs, dev tools etc....

We have invited the media and everyone else to our internal conflict over things that they should really have no interest in with our current infighting and ranting about mobile tech and the mobile market.

Its are fault that non technical people are commenting on whether or not apis are "user friendly". We invited the world to our dysfunction.

Re:Sign of the times (1)

Vairon (17314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294012)

Can we uninvite them now?

Article Tag (4, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293912)

The tag on the article "submittertoostupid" pretty much says it all here folks.

Re:Article Tag (1)

Barryke (772876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294090)

I tried to prove him lazy, but actually.. after reading this code .. its overcomplicated.

I understand that the bucket and filekey concept is excelent, but this adds a few lines.
This could be easily overcome if its a function, but the fact that this function supports managing duplicates, redundancy, security and simply mutating several files at once this gets complicated.

Don't compare this code to the MS-DOS file copy command, don't expect it to be that easy.
But yes on first glance this interface could be simplified without neglecting features. Suggestion: put it in brackets, choose which supported features you'd like to drop for simplicity and make it a function. Done.
badabingbadaboomCopyObjectsToNewInstance(config_boto, bucket_source, bucket_destination, array of object_names) returns horses

a well known quote comes to mind... (2, Insightful)

klashn (1323433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293926)

“Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.”

- Brian Kernighan

It seems Googler's may be smart enough for their own good, but not smart enough to debug the cloud

Nice low-level API. Missing high-level API. (4, Insightful)

Millennium (2451) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293952)

This looks like a nice low-level API for doing really interesting and complicated things. Unfortunately, they neglected to include a high-level API to deal with what will be by far the most common use cases. Sure, it's not so difficult to implement an upload_file(filepointer, uri) function with this, but given the huge proportion of developers using this library that are going to need exactly this sort of function, do we really need all of them reinventing the wheel?

Powerful and complex functionality is good, but the most common use cases got that way for a reason. Specifically accounting for them, even if only through a set of basic frontend functions, brings major productivity boosts to the programmers that use your library. It is a thing worth doing, and it sounds like the Google folks neglected to do that in this case.

-1 Offtopic (1)

Vadim Makarov (529622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294102)

Google has just put the best holiday logo ever on the homepage. A working PacMan! I wonder what's the worldwide economic impact of this joke, in terms of lost productivity. It probably beats most terrorist acts and natural disasters :).

When it counts... (1)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 4 years ago | (#32294140)

Last time I checked, the Google search page was pretty straightforward. For more complicated systems, get set up on Google Voice. I'm so used to phone-tree hell that I was pretty stunned with how quick and painless that was. They are happy to put user experience as a primary concern when they're trying to acquire users. For a storage API, frankly having granddad want to try it out might not be in their interests.

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