Making APIs Great Again!
With the advent of the ESI (Eve Swagger Interface), there have been changes afoot as to what data is available from CCP. Historically CCP has offered up methods of accessing data which has led to the creation of many tools. These tools were incredibly useful to many and patched up the deficiencies present in the actual game.
Time marches on though and as in many industries, especially software ones, there is a desire to use the next big thing. The XML API, of course, does have limitations. It should also be noted that at the time having such an API was considered quite groundbreaking in the gaming industry.
Normally when making a move to a new method of data interchange existing functionality is retained. This is often with good reason as well as functionality does not just happen with no reason. So at some point in the past an API call, named “/account/AccountStatus.xml.aspx”, was created and people used it. People used it a lot.
Back in November 2016, CCP made this announcement.
During this post, CCP made several claims of note. Firstly “This is the part where you don’t panic. We’re not here to announce that we’re killing all your applications…”. This was closely followed by “Once we replicate all current CREST and XML API functionality in ESI, we will be shutting down both services.”. The projected timeline for this was anticipated by CCP to be 18 months from the release of their blog. Additionally, CCP advised that they would be monitoring the use of existing tools in order to help third party developers with the migration.
Notice the assurances of replicating all the functionality at that time.
A promise means nothing until it is delivered
With the Eve development, community assured that this move would be a measured one, there was not much to worry about. New tools would be developed by CCP and developers would be able to integrate these into the solutions they created for the benefit of our community.
But then this statement was made by CCP on May 26. Not only is the “/account/AccountStatus.xml.aspx” currently broken but CCP also states “Account level information will not be available in ESI”.
The following is a response that is currently being received.
The more observant of you will note that this does not match with the existing documentation.
Differences in results when it comes to XML should not overly be a concern as excess or missing data is often handled well. But this may be an indication that someone has been fiddling with things that were not broken.
There is little to worry about though as CCP now assure us that “Players receive notification e-mails directly from CCP if their non-recurring subscription is approaching expiry.”. That is right folks. In our rush to advance technology, we are going back to being solely reliant on eMail. Should we be grateful it is not just SMS, or even back to snail mail?
So why should I care?
Not only is the popular EveMon affected but also those numerous individuals that maintain their accounts and activity through the use of spreadsheets. Quite simply the functionality offered made life easier for many. In reality, no one can say for sure what is affected for reasons which will soon be explained.
Yet again we find the esteemed members of The Imperium fighting valiantly for the unwashed masses of Eve Online. Our very own Aryth has been pushing for a fix for the last week with support from other CSM members. Aryth first noticed this “error” a week ago as it caused performance issues with his own personal tool set. When I mention performance issues here these were from to be “working fine” to being “broken”.
Aryth has done his utmost to tempt CCP into fixing this issue, but all to no avail. Aryth’s main concern here is that there is no way to gauge how some people will be affected. It may seem quite a small matter but it is possible that some tools will rely on using the now defunct API Endpoint. As we all know it only takes a very small thing in computing to stop the whole damned lot. The difference can be as small as a single 1.
In order to get the word out as quickly as possible The Imperium’s very own Querns has even sullied themselves by making a Reddit post about this matter. In essence, if you use any tool that still implemented this API endpoint then expect your stuff to be broken. You may also wish to setup your eMail accounts differently and to also check them with greater frequency if you are anything like me.
More to come?
So with a Reddit post present and also the former statements from CCP, there are some questions to be answered. These are tough questions at that. The most important ones are:
- Why has CCP gone back on previous statements?
- Why was there such resistance in telling the community?
- Are we likely to expect to have more incidents like this in the future?
As always we will keep you posted on updates as we hear about them.