Today in APIs: Google's App Engine, API Quirks and 12 New APIs

The Google App Engine went down for over 3 hours on Friday, then bounced back. Zapier added a new blog series on API quirks. Plus: there's a new API meetup in Paris, the Amazon outage is proof that API monitoring needs overhauling, and 12 new APIs.

The Outage Before the Storm? Google's App Engine Went Down Friday, Is Back Up

The Google App Engine went down Friday, according to the engine's blog, in the first widespread outage since its launch in January, 2011. "...from approximately 7:30 to 11:30 AM US/Pacific, about 50% of requests to App Engine applications failed," according to the post by Peter S. Magnusson, Engineering Director at Google App Engine.

A timeline reveals the start of problems at 6:10 AM Pacific time, when "The load on traffic routers in the affected datacenter passes our paging threshold," until 11:45 AM, when it was back up and running.

Issuing an apology, Magnusson stated, "This morning we failed to live up to our promise, and Google App Engine applications experienced increased latencies and time-out errors."

But just as importantly, he is issuing credits:

We will proactively issue credits to all paid applications for ten percent of their usage for the month of October to cover any SLA violations. This will appear on applications’ November bills. There is no need to take any action to receive this credit.

API Quirks: The Series

ZapierZapier, a 3 man start up that helps connect web apps like Gmail, GitHub and HipChat has launched a blog series on API quirks. As Mike Knoop explains in the first entry last week,

Everyone at Zapier has to deal with API Quirks. We deal with so many APIs each day, we have become almost immune to the often bizarre, undocumented, frustrating behavior exhibited by web APIs. Our goal with this series is to document some of the most time-consuming things we run into. Considering the short-form nature of many solutions (and the amount of quirks we run into), you can expect this series to grow quickly!

Naturally, most of the content will be time-sensitive. No API or Documentation is static. Take any quirks published before "today" with a grain of salt!

First up is a look at Yammer External Networks, about which, he says, "the Yammer API documentation is not clear about how you go about reading or writing to an External Network which the current authorized user has access to." He then goes on to explain exactly how to accomplish this.

API News You Shouldn't Miss

12 New APIs

Today we had 12 new APIs added to our API directory including a ecommerce and shipping service, a food product data service, an advertising campaign management service, a fueling station location service, a solar energy information service, a pass and ticket creation service for passbook, a quality control service for crowd-sourcing websites, a server storage extension service and an ecommerce diagnosis and analytics service. Below is more details on each of these new APIs.

AmberCartAmberCart API: AmberCart is an eCommerce service that allows users to add eCommerce functionality to websites and applications. AmberCart allows users to accept payments online and ship products.

The AmberCart Shipping API allows developers to access and integrate accurate shipping rates from USPS, UPS, and FedEx with other websites and applications. Public documentation is not available; API access comes with account service.

FoodEssentials LabelFoodEssentials Label API: FoodEssentials is a service that provides data on food products. FoodEssentials provides a database of food label information.

The FoodEssentials Label API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality and data of FoodEssentials with other applications and to create new applications. Some example API methods include accessing food product information, searching for food ingredients, and retrieving allergy information.

Google DoubleClick Ad Exchange SellerGoogle DoubleClick Ad Exchange Seller API: Google's Ad Exchange supports diverse ad buyer business models by providing multiple ways to access and buy impressions. Users can set up and manage campaigns, automate actions, bid for inventory in real time and automate real time bidding. The Ad Exchange Seller REST API allows developers to get reports on Ad Exchange earnings and manage Ad Exchange inventory. With the API users can retrieve existing ad clients, ad units, URL channels, and custom channels and obtain reports and their account's performance. The API uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in JSON.

NREL Alternative Fuel StationsNREL Alternative Fuel Stations API: The service provides listings and locations for stations providing fuel for vehicles powered by technologies other than gasoline and diesel engines. These alternative fuel stations can be rare and widely distributed, making them difficult to find and reducing the appeal of the technologies. The service is intended to counterbalance that effect by publicizing the locations of alternative fuel stops.

API methods support queries against a database of alternative fuel stations. Results can provide either complete listings or the locations of the stations within a particular radius or nearest a location specified by street address, city and state, Zip Code, or latitude and longitude. Returned data provide the station name and location along with particulars like fuel types available and payment methods accepted.

NREL SolarNREL Solar API: The service provides data collected about potential and actual solar energy collection along with analytical services for evaluating solar resources. Mapping functions generate averages, both monthly and annually, for solar resources at a specified location. The toolset includes a mapping tool and performance data for photovoltaic (PV) arrays to support planning in light of the expected efficiency of solar electricity installations. Another tool calculates potential energy production and cost savings from PV arrays connected to conventional electrical energy grids. Its estimates describe hypothetical benefits of PV installations for individual residences and small businesses.

API methods support calculation of an estimate for solar electricity generation, measured as watt-hours per square meter per day, for a location specified as latitude and longitude. Methods also give estimates of efficiency for PV panels at a specified site. Another tool evaluates productivity and cost savings of PV panels feeding power in excess of local needs back to a regional electrical power grid.

PassHoundPassHound API: PassHound is a service for developers for Passbook Integration with their applications. Developers can create passes and tickets for Apple's PassBook.

Public documentation is not available; interested developers should request more information here:

Project TroiaProject Troia API: Project Troia is a quality control service and algorithm for crowd-sourcing applications.

The Project Troia API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality of Project Troia with other applications and websites. Some example API methods include retrieving worker costs, managing account information, and loading and managing jobs.

Rackspace Cloud Block StorageRackspace Cloud Block Storage API: Rackspace Cloud Block Storage delivers storage performance for I/O-intensive applications. The storage is offered in two capacities, one for standard volumes and one for SSD volumes. Cloud Block Storage (CBS) allows users to extend the storage capacity of their Next Generation Server without the need for increasing Server power. Users can interact with CBS programmatically via an API. The API uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in XML and JSON.

Shopping Cart Diagnostics Shopping Cart Diagnostics API: Shopping Cart Diagnostics is a solution designed to make online stores error-free. This online service will analyze all types of inaccuracies and issues within a user's shopping cart, store website, and even customer behavior to provide timely and precise resolution scenarios.

Shopping Cart Diagnostics offers:

- Store checkout testing and overall User Experience monitoring
- Web page performance analysis
- Store security check
- Server environment tracking
- Shopping cart configuration diagnostics
- Website SEO and content testing
- More than 100 other checks

Customers may access their Shopping Cart Diagnostics account data via an API. Public documentation for the API is not available. API: offers an API for audio effects and music processing engines to web and application developers. Some of the API methods include accessing effects such as reverberation, time stretching, and pitch shifting, and analysis engines for the detection of tempo, loudness, and musical key. They enable developers to build services for automatic audio database tagging, for creating mash-ups of songs with different tempo and key, and for applying effects to their recordings.

Sound of the CitySound of the City API: Sound of the City is a map of user-generated sound data in the city of Luebeck. Participants install the application on an Android device to record, geo-tag, and upload noises (for noise avoidance) and sounds (soundscapes). The Sound of the City API provides public read-only access without login, while uploading data requires an API Key. This is a REST API returning JSON, XML, or HTML formatted responses.

YippieMoveYippieMove API: YippieMove is an email migration service that allows users and organizations to change email servers and email providers in batches.

The YippieMove API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality of YippieMove with other applications. Some example API methods include managing user accounts, managing moves and migrations, and accessing provider and price information.