Bye Bye Picasa API

It’s always a nice feeling to realize, after a long bout of confusion and pounding my head against the desk, that I was never actually going crazy in the first place. Putting together this Jekyll site has been a fun and challenging exploration of the unfamiliar and I enjoy the process of cobbling together new features while figuring out what’s possible as I go. Most of the time this means breaking things completely before getting it right, but other times those features break you.

The Photos section of this website was one such instance of second-guessing myself and being completely unable to understand what had gone wrong. You may have noticed those pages looking a bit stale and broken, they’ve been that way for quite some time. At the onset of developing those galleries I knew I’d be at the mercy of Google Photos and whatever changes Google decided to make to their API, but this challenge was nothing foreign to me as I’ve been interacting with this service ever since Google acquired Picasa in 2004.

I did plan to do a larger write up of how I developed my photo galleries as it aligned well with one of the philosophies I’ve developed my site around (lean code, quick loads), plus I was also pretty proud of what I had accomplished, but it was more important to first get that particular feature up and running correctly. One hurdle I faced during development was that Google was actively phasing out all aspects of Picasa at the time and moving entirely to a new way of doing things in Google Photos, but at least as of this summer, it all still kind of worked.

Going through the code again today, I discovered a bug on my end that was causing all my galleries to parse content from my trip to Italy, but It’s all kind of a moot point now though as I noticed this morning that I can no longer access the JSON files I had been using to render those galleries. Picasa is now as dead as disco, officially. It’s probably been like that for a while now, I’ve only recently jumped back in to getting this feature working again, but I thought it would be proper to commemorate the occasion as I have some history with trying to bend Picasa to my will over the years. Here’s to exploring new avenues with Google Photos and Google Cloud Platform but pausing to remember the ones we’ve lost.

Farewell old friend.

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