Feb 24

When skipping ideas does not feel wrong or you better be prepaired

A few months ago there was a new platform released for group communication. The goal back then was something like the next step of message boards / forums. As a result, Convore was born.

Convore and their API

Convore was developed by a team who is known for their open source work and their commitment to transparency. So it came as no surprise – at least for me – that they would offer an API right from the start. In fact, they were using the same API for most of the stuff they were doing. One of the more interesting features of the API was the Live API that uses a technique called long polling: “A request to Live can hang for up to 30 seconds so be prepared to wait. The response will return sooner if there are new updates.”

One would place a call to a certain URL and receive messages as they were entered in Convore. Then, when the request ended you would just place another call, you could do this in a loop and have realtime updates to whatever you were using the data for.

Fun app idea

I did not come up with an actual business idea, but a little app came to mind that would probably be fun to implement: A realtime map of the world updated with data from the API, so you could track the activity on a map. At least I thought this could have been fun. I put that idea into my idea backlog on May 16th 2011. That was like only a few months after they opened for business and were added to Ycombinator. What do you think of the idea?

The end is near

Just a few days ago now, the Convore team issued a blog post that it will be shutting down on April 1st. Though this is a weird date to be shutting down, I believe that they are serious about this, as they seem to already have moved on: grove.io. So now I might be sad and/or mad that I will not be able to work on my lovely idea, others have reason to be really mad, as they have already put work into apps for Android. I do not want to speak for them, so no further judgements on shutting down.

It is of course the Convore team’s right to be shutting down, on the other hand, I found their platform fun and easy to use and it is sad to see it leave. Now I think there are a few possible solutions:

  1. Release Convore’s source code, so others could run ist for them or others could just have their internal Convore
  2. Sell it. But I am not sure, if and who would buy it and what they would do to/with it

Be prepaired

As a devloper nowadays it is easy to find APIs to build products on. There are several new and old companies opening up their data for others to use. One just needs to be prepaired that this is not a guaranteed service and it might be shutting down any other day. Though I think this is unlikely for bigger companies, it might more true for startups, that are being bought or that just run out of business. All I am saying is: be prepaired!

To the Convore team

In case you read this, it is not my intention to make you feel bad about shutting down. The Convore API is not the only one that was getting shut down after a while, and it certainly will not be the last. This is just an example that was currently known to me while writing this post. I wish you all the best for your new adventure!

Tags: api, development