Dave Luebbert on the reasons to clone

Dave wrote this in a comment on Frederico's blog, but it was worth calling out in a post of its own. Dave is a former development lead on Microsoft Word and has worked with me on the OPML Editor project.

Reasons to clone:

1) The features available in that API are sufficient to enable interesting interaction with a search service. Enough experiments have been done on the Google API to know what's possible to do with it. Re-expressing that functionality in a different syntax would make folks re-explore the new way of expressing things and waste a good deal of developer's time with no advance in existing capability.

2) If the API is cloned with the usage restrictions relaxed or removed, all of the existing experiments get new resources and can develop a larger user base. If you make random changes to the API, all of the previous experiments must be redeveloped. If the cloning is done well, all of the existing stuff works instantly with new API providers.

3) If new invention is needed, the servers that support the API can extend existing capability while leaving the existing core API in place. The costs of extending capabilty in this way are likely not terribly high and makes it easy for existing developers to use a new search service. The new search providers won't have to evangelize on behalf of their new API, in order to find the developers who will support their efforts.

4) It's in developer's interest to have multiple services that support a core API, as insurance against lock-in attempts by the service providers. Once another outfit provides the API with relaxed usage restrictions, you would expect that Google would have incentive to also relax their restrictions. If Google ends up finally doing the best implementation of these services, service developers would appreciate being able to use the best stuff without having to support multiple, possibly diverging APIs. Providing this insurance, increases the liklihood that developers will use a new search service that uses the API along with or instead of Google.

# Posted by Dave Winer on 11/3/05; 9:25:55 PM - --