An open letter to…

… all whom are or thinking of parsing the City Bikes data for Stockholm.

I felt I needed to write this post since I have been thinking about a “twitter” conversation I had a few weeks ago with some Spanish dude.

Since I have the sole right to the Clear Channel API’s for the Citybikes in Stockholm, I choose not to share these publicly with 3rd parties. This (off course) seems to annoy some people. Shortly after I received a question from an other developer regarding why I don’t want to share these publicly.

Well, the reason is quite simple as (I think) most of you do understand. As long as I have the sole right, I have a unique position on both iTunes AppStore and Google Market with my citybikes apps. This is kind of important for me since the sales of my apps pay for the time I have put on them. I don’t get paid from Clear Channel to develop these applications and I don’t work for free.

Now, since I have made a web map containing the same data as the apps do… I might want to make sure the data doesn’t get ripped.
Until some weeks ago I had basically no security on the data recieved from the web api. The little security I had was sufficient enough to keep most developers away. But, some started parsing and thats when I made some other easy updates to it to secure it more.

For one iOS app, this was sufficient enough to crash the app. Hence the developer removed his app from the App Store. Jeej for me… but I saw yesterday evening it popped up again. For the Spanish bloke, he has a little smarter system which is a bit harder to block. He simply doesn’t want to comply and still parsed my api. He fixed his parsing service some day after my initial security update. But, since he only has an Android app and an open API I decided not to put any more time on it, since the Android platform isn’t that important for me.

So yesterday, when I saw that the Swedish developed iOS app popped up again on the AppStore I decided to do another quick security update. Until now their app doesn’t really work… it doesn’t crash but neither does it show any locations on the map. On top of that, the spanish service stopped working as well. So, “Två flugor i en smäll” as you say in Swedish (“Two flies with one blow” in English?).

But, this is quite a sad kind of game. Its really more of a cat and mouse game which ultimately I will win. Since my apps use other services not open to the public my apps wont be affected by any changes done to the web surface. These apps stop working now and then since they don’t get any data. The security updates I do (hint!) are quite easy to find and implement. I could update the site with a captcha and more advanced security measures but I don’t really see the point of it, it will only cost me more time which I don’t have.

This thing that does amaze me is the arrogance of some people. Or better yet, mostly this Spanish bloke. A friend of mine said a few months ago “The difference between Android and iOS users is that an Android user doesn’t want to pay for shit even if 8 months of development are behind the app, where the iOS user gladly paid $1 for an propper/great application. This is one of the reasons why the Android market will never get to the same level as the iTunes AppStore”, this got me thinking to my situation. If the tables would be turned and I would be the one trying to parse these API’s, I would respond like “Ah well, I’ll try something else to get it to work”. However, this bloke doesn’t. He thinks quite highly of himself and somehow he seems to have the idea that me blocking his service is kind of a descrase and publishes this more public to #stockholm on twitter (http://bit.ly/jZmWMY). He doesn’t seem to understand that its not a secret that I block him, and everybody else whom seems to illegally access the API. (So hereby, you all are informed! 😉 )

The most fun comment from this junior was telling me that I don’t get it… right… as I said, I don’t get the arrogance of some people.

A well, Internet and life if full of idiots so I need to keep that in mind. Just a good thing I got all of this off my chest.

Cheers,
Paul

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