Four short links: 8 December 2010

User-Contributed News, Web Services, Kinect Piano, and Designing Maps

  1. Send Us Your Thoughts (YouTube) — from the excellent British comedians Mitchell and Webb comes this take on viewer comments in the news. (via Steve Buttry’s News Foo writeup)
  2. Amazon proves that REST doesn’t matter for Cloud APIs — with the death of WS-* and their prolix overbearing complexity, the difference between REST and basic XML RPC is almost imperceptible. As this essay points out, the biggest cloud API is Amazon’s and it’s built on RPC instead of REST.
  3. Kinect Piano (YouTube) — turn any surface into a piano. (via David Ascher on Twitter)
  4. Google Maps Label Readability — detailed analysis of the design decisions that make Google’s labels so much more readable than the competition’s. Fascinating to see the decisions that go into programmatically building a map: leaving white space around cities, carefully avoiding clustering, even how adding an extra level of information can make things simpler.
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  • The Amazon/REST post seems pretty clueless to me. It’s a variation of the much repeated ‘standard X doesn’t matter, because service Y is doing pretty well without using it’ argument. It’s a fallacy that has been around forever, and, in web related matters, it was most famously used in the heyday of the webstandards wars: someone was using tables for layout, so surely CSS advocacy was futile.

    Besides, pointing to non-restful successful APIs is a common routine of introductory texts to REST (Flickr is the most used example of a RPC-style API)

    Standards, good practices or architectural styles like REST are facilitators of efficient ecologies and beneficial network effects. The existence of players that are successful or dominant without adopting them is a given, and showcasing them to prove any point is generally misguided.

    (Sorry about the english. 2nd language, etc)