back to article Forget razors and blades, APIs are the new gotcha

I've always hated the "razor and blades" business model. It pops up everywhere in our society, and is becoming ever more popular in IT. There is enough crossover with subscription models that it's hard to tell where one business model stops and the other begins. Regardless of the nuances, "razor and blades" is nothing but a tax …

  1. James 51

    Let’s hope someone released the equivalent of the eco-tank printers then. Open reservoirs so no cartridges and impossible to chip (unless you start added real time chemical sensors to check the ink for chemical markers).

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Law's going the other way, using the environment as a scapegoat. Assets are being locked down, there are too many people, and there's no business like repeat business.

  2. Mage Silver badge

    Not just API charging

    Never use 3rd party APIs or code at runtime. Have all the code on your own server or instance.

    Web sites using APIs / 3rd party fonts / 3rd party scripts etc are nuts.

    Apart from the future potential to be charged, there is the Websites are awash with using 3rd party servers at runtime. It's a security and privacy hole apart from the issue in the article.

    Another reason to be suspicious of claims of cost savings with Cloud Computing. Service providers want profits. WIMPEY.

    1. Jim Mitchell

      Re: Not just API charging

      Assembling your website at view time has become the default. I run noscript, and it makes apparent how horrifying the modern web has become. Fortunately, many sites achieve good functionality even if you limit the 3rd/4th/5th/Nth parties. Those that don't, don't get my traffic.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not just API charging

        Awesome example - there's been a rash of mysterious disappearing buttons lately, caused by web designers using font-awesome's CDN to avoid the trouble of downloading and unzipping the files. Chrome flagged the CDN's SSL cert for "doin' it wrong", and poof! no buttons.

        1. joed

          Re: Not just API charging

          Those remote buttons/fonts are not because someone got lazy. These are used to track you across domains. This is why I like FF (with essential addons) and have my pages rendered in arial.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not just API charging

            I assure you it's laziness. We use Google and Facebook to track you across domains :)

            Not that some fonts'n'crap CDNs aren't _trying_ to get in on the tracking game, but all they get are your IP address and User-Agent, which it's doubtful they can monetize. The big boys are already getting all that and much more.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not just API charging

      Madness to depend on some general 3rd party services for many LOB applications since the 3rd party can (and have) changed functionality or even dropped functionality and services with just a nice 'click here to see our new TOS' message to let you know.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pardon my American, but … remains free. Simple API, too.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Pardon my American, but …

      Very interesting point about ownership. An owner can't have the utility of that good withdrawn arbitrarily (unless it's confiscated by a stroppy parent or government).

      When we rent, we make ourselves dependent on our labour.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Pardon my American, but …

        Or unless the law is ignored like the ink on a page it is in reality.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pardon my American, but …

      > remains free. Simple API, too.

      They should change that. They've done a great job telling users to fuck off, but they're missing the entire developer demographic. What better way to say "fuck off" than to charge them fucktons of money for a popular formerly-free API?

  4. HmmmYes

    Your not seeing it. No one ever does.

    The thing that keeps your business running is not hose blinking light boxes, sucking in electric.

    Its the software that runs on them FFS.

    How do you interact with those boxes - CLI?, console? web thingy? Network API?

    Whatever. Its all software. Software turns the world.

    1. Pete Franklin

      Obviously true, but how is that relevant to this article?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Your not seeing it."

      And you're not spelling it properly.

      1. Diginerd

        Speiling. You're doing it wrong if your API...

        ...doesn't sanitize inputs, isn't (somewhat) liberal in what is accepted and conservative in what is sent?!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Speiling. You're doing it wrong if your API...

          You're doing it wrong if your standard doesn't specify that the implementation MUST give an error when the input is wrong. If the standard doesn't specify that then different implementation of the standard won't, in practice, be compatible because they will treat ill-formed input differently and some applications will end up accidentally relying on ill-formed input being treated in a particular way.

          The above is vaguely relevant, I think, because there's not much wrong with paying for API calls if there are competing implementations of the API, and those competing implementations are compatible, in practice, not just in theory.

  5. Nate Amsden

    merchant silicon

    Has been out there for over a decade. Nothing new. Same with 3rd party optics. Which is why many first tier vendors flag 3rd party optics and won't support them (or may for a premium)

    I wouldn't be caught dead deploying a supermicro ethernet switch though. Plenty of low cost options out there that have real support and better software.

  6. Duffy Moon

    Double edge blades

    10p a go and good for several shaves. I don't buy those multi-blade cartridge abominations.

    This is about razors right?

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Double edge blades

      How hairy are your legs??!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Spot on, Trevor

    I see multi-million-dollar corporate clients paying literally a few dollars a month to the Big 4 or what have you. Or nothing. Or 10k/year payable in advance. It all depends license terms and usage, which can change overnight. Every year I find myself rushing to implement another map API because the one we're using got greedy or merged with another, and even when given advance notice, nobody approves these petty changes until something breaks.

    I'm generally a political conservative but I HATE HATE HATE that notion, advanced by many (neo-)conservative politicians, of "user fees" for small public services - parking meters, road tolls, pay-per-throw, vehicle stickers, little tax incentives/penalties, coffee shops that charge for wifi... it's obnoxious.

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