A Web Developer's Guide To Google's New Developer APIs and Services

By Scott Clark

Google announced the release of many new APIs and developer services at its Google I/O conference this week. This tutorial for the web developer breaks the new APIs and services down for you, and shows you how you can start using them now!

There were several notable announcements during the conference, some from other vendors such as Adobe, who announced that they were including support for HTML 5 in their Dreamweaver CS5 software. Google took the spotlight, naturally, with daily keynotes about new features they were adding, upgrading or creating, such as the Chrome Web Store, which essentially accepts applications that are cross-platform, created using HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

Google Feed API v2

The Google Feed API v2 with PubSubHubbub (PUSH) is a JavaScript library that allows you to embed Google Feeds with feed updates pushed automatically to the user's browser.

The Google Feed API v2 with Push works best with feeds enabled for PubSubHubbub, which is defined as "A simple, open, server-to-server web-hook-based pubsub (publish/subscribe) protocol as an extension to Atom and RSS." Google has quite a bit of documentation on the Feed API and how to properly setup your RSS feed.

Here's a video of the Feed API segment from the conference:

Store Your Data in Google's Cloud

Google Storage for Developers is a RESTful (Representational State Transfer) service for :storing and accessing your data on Google's infrastructure. The service combines the performance and scalability of Google's cloud with advanced security and sharing capabilities."

Currently Google Storage is only available to a limited number of developers in the United States. Interested developers can sign up to join the waiting list. Google also has a Getting Started Guide for those wanting all the juicy details.

The WebM project

Just announced this week, the WebM project is "dedicated to developing a high-quality, open video format for the web that is freely available to everyone." Thus far the project includes support from Mozilla, Opera, Google and more than forty other publishers, software and hardware vendors.

WebM includes work on various web technologies, including:

  • VP8, a high-quality video codec Google released this week under a BSD-style, royalty-free license
  • Vorbis, an already open source and often-used audio codec
  • a container format based on a subset of the Matroska media container, an "extensible open source, open standard Multimedia container"
A developer preview of WebM and VP8 was made available this week at the WebM Project website, and includes source code, specs and encoding tools.

The Google Font API and Google Font Library

Google made yet another announcement at its Google I/O 2010 conference, announcing the Google Font API and Google Font Directory. The Font Directory will initially include 19 licensed fonts such as serif, san-serif, script and fixed-width and the Font API can be utilized by websites using HTML or JavaScript.

By using a single line of code, you can use the Font Library's fonts without the font needing to be installed on your visitors' computer or mobile device. Using a font on a web page is easy--you just add a Font API stylesheet link to your page and then use the font in a CSS style, like this:

<html>
  <head>
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Tangerine">
    <style>
      body {
        font-family: 'Tangerine', serif;
        font-size: 48px;
      }
    </style>
  </head>
  <body>
    <h1>Making the Web Beautiful!</h1>
  </body>
</html>
For more information, check out the Getting Started guide for Google Font API.

Other Google announcements include the Google Wave API, which helps users communicate and collaborate on the web, Chrome Web Store, an "open marketplace for web apps", and the Google Web Toolkit 2.1, which enables developers to create apps which work for both the desktop and the mobile environment with just a few tweaks. We'll go into each of those in the next installment!

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