Campaign Trail – EVE API

Thank you for your interest in my campaign to be part of CSM 6. It is my intention to work diligently, effectively, and tirelessly to bring the concerns of the player base to the CSM, to CCP, and back to the players.

The following is a user submitted request for my stand on a topic important to them. I have given thought to the topic and formulated my opinion, but it’s just that; my opinion. Nothing more. There is no guarantee the opinion expressed herein will ever see the light of day.

My platform isn’t one of issues, but rather one of integrity, tenacity, and the willingness to hold the CSM and CCP accountable to the players that support everything we do. I will not push my own agenda, unless it coincides with what the majority of the player base wants for a given topic.

Never start a fight you can win. #RocTheVote

QUESTION: Thanks for your post about monetizing the API, even though I disagree with it. I’m more interested in learning about your thoughts outside of profit. What do you think of the API in its current state, and where do you think it should go from here?

As I’ve mentioned previously, I think that CCP giving us a free and extensive API to play with is one of the most innovative things they have done for our community. They were certainly ahead of the times doing this.

I also believe that developers should profit from their efforts, but that was covered in the other post. Onto API discussion!

Security

CCP recently announced that they are switching from HTTP to HTTPS. It’s a small and simple thing, but I think it’s one of the most forward thinking moves they have made regarding the API, and I certainly hope they follow through. We all know internet spaceships is serious business, and protecting our valuable character information should be a high priority. One time use keys would also be a practical option for enhancing security as well, as several corporations/alliances use the API for character validation on recruitment applications.

It would also be fantastic if the API offered OAuth support.

Another key aspect of information security is monitoring. I strongly feel there should be an automated intrusion system that notifies a player if their API is accessed in a suspect way. Currently, players need to login to their EVE account, view the list of IP addresses they have authorized their key to, and try to remember which is which. Many players have a difficult enough time figuring out how to use their API key in the first place, let alone trying to sort out IP address usage. This needs to be simplified for an easier user experience.

Cleanliness

I’m just joking around with this subtitle, and won’t go into the details of SOAP vs REST, etc, because the bottom line is I don’t care. As long as the API works, and is easy to access, it doesn’t matter to me what paradigm CCP chooses to go with. My opinion.

Customization

CCP also recently announced an API initiative that will allow players to customize what information is made available to a given request. I think this is brilliant, as currently with only Limited and Full API key options, it’s almost all or nothing. Having multiple keys, that I have customized for the various apps I use, will go a long ways towards my first point about security.

But these are the knowns. What about the unknowns? What is lacking in the API? What enhancements would I like to see made? What agenda will I push regarding the API?

I want to take a moment to reiterate my stance on the API from a high level. I don’t believe that any usage of the API should be made a critical part of EVE Online. What that means is that you shouldn’t be forced to use any third party developer application in order to have a full EVE Online experience.

To me, API development is meant to enhance game play, not replace it in any way, shape or form.

Enhancements

So what are the main issues players have with the API, including myself?

Communication

CCP, though they are getting better, still needs to have more consistent community interaction in regards to the API. I probably didn’t need to put the API part, as I believe CCP just needs to have more consistent community interaction overall, but I feel this is a particularly important distinction. Even though there are only a handful of third party application developers, the majority of EVE players make use of the EVE API in some way, so the API should be viewed by CCP as an important and ongoing topic.

To that end, CCP also needs to have their support staff recognize that although API petitions do not directly affect ingame play, they should be treated with the same seriousness of any other petition, and respond accordingly, giving their full attention to the petition.

Consistency

As it stands, there is an inconsistency to API access. Eve Gate boasts features not available in the current API, and since site scraping is a violation of the EULA, it is a frustrating experience for developers. On the one hand I can understand why CCP wants to have CCP only features, but the API is about the community, as is Eve Gate. A single toolset should be mandated. Empower the community with the same rich toolset used by CCP, and they will be surprised and impressed with the quality the community produces.

Missing in Action

POS module setup, silo fill levels, gun ammo fill levels, location and nearest anchored moon, Planetary Interaction information, Contracts, Jump Clone information, Character implant information, employment history, etc, etc. There are a great many things missing from the EVE API that developers have been requesting for a long time now without any real forward movement on CCP’s end.

I understand the API team is a small one at CCP, but still, consistent communication goes a long way with the community.

I could go on about Killmail API issues, parameters for minimize returning results for large data sets, write access via EVE Mail, etc, etc, but I won’t.

The point of this post is to let you know that the API is important to me, and that as part of the CSM, I would make sure it’s constantly brought to the table. As a third party developer, and as a player, the API is an essential part of the community, and as such, should only be progressed.

There are some that have accused me of flipping my position on the API, citing my last post regarding how I would monetize the API as contrary to encouraging the API community, even to the point of saying I am anti-player, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I have always been about community. Check my blog. Ask your friends. The historical facts are there.

Monetizing the API and improving the API are two completely separate topics about the same subject matter. It would be liking asking me how would I improve the recipe for apple pie, then accusing me of being anti-pie when you also ask me how I would go about selling apple pie.

One response to “Campaign Trail – EVE API

  1. CCP already has everything they need to kick-start a Paid App program, except

    a) motivation
    b) experience

    If CCP actually benefitted directly from users of the API, I think it would sharpen its focus with regard to support and development.

    However, monetizing the API or the apps that rely on it raised the temptation of having premium vs non-premium API access, just as Microsoft sneaks undisclosed API hooks into Windows so its own apps can do extra things compared to everyone else. The EVE community has already seen it with Eve Gate, which doesn’t inspire confidence in CCP’s altruism in the face of opportunity.

Leave a Reply to Trent Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.