Google Speeds up Drive API for Leaner Integration

Developers can now add Google Drive to their own apps with less futzing around. Google made version 3 of its Google Drive APITrack this API available this week, which it says is leaner, faster, and more consistent than the outgoing API. 

Google listens to developer feedback. The search giant says it relied on developer comments and good old fashioned experience to address issues related to the older Drive API. Google believes the improvements will be most helpful to developers who are integrating Drive into their own apps for the first time. 

Google made four key changes: It reduced the number of collections developers need to understand; removed some duplication; cleaned up method and property names; and set defaults that are faster and more efficient. For example, the files.list call now only includes the most commonly used fields served by Google. Devs can make use of the fields parameter to add more if they wish. Google says this alone makes the default API call six times faster when compared to version 2.

There are no new real features in this release of the Google Drive API other than the simplification, and Google says that's by design. It focused specifically on boosting the API's performance and ease-of-use. Google says future updates will be more apt to add new features to the API. 

For the time being, Google will support both versions of the API so existing apps can run without changes. Google won't force developers to upgrade. The company said developers who used the version 2 API can easily jump to the version 3 API. Google is offering a cheat sheet to help with the transition. 

The core functionality provided by the Drive API is to download and upload files in Google Drive. Google Drive is the company's cloud-based storage platform, though Google wants everyone to know Drive does a lot more than simply collect files. Developers can add a wide range of Drive's features to their apps.

For example,  developers can let users open certain file types with Drive by default, as long as the app has registered the correct MIME type or file extension. Developers can use the Drive API to add custom thumbnails when their app creates or saves a file. Drive will then show the thumbnail whenver the file is reference in the future. Users can also create new fles using Google Drive as long as the proper user interface is integrated within the app. 
 

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.

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