Google is arguably the most powerful technology company in the world. But if you were to consult the active developer community about their frustrations around Google’s top earner, AdWords, a common theme would be likely to emerge – The API, while powerful and fairly robust, was lacking when it came to adoption some of the industries best practices around hosting, feedback, and dependency management.
Well, two months ago the good folks at Google changed that by transferring their libraries code base from Google Code to GitHub, a game changer for developers everywhere that work with Google Adwords on a regular basis.
So why should you, the digital marketer, care? Improvements in accessibility and ease of use of the AdWords API directly affects the ability of PPC managers to optimize campaign performance.
Nii A. Ahene (@Nii_Ahene), CPC Strategy COO and co-founder, weighs in:
“We are very happy to see Google start to maintain their Adwords client libraries for all languages on Github. It definitely demonstrates that the company is committed to providing developers with the tools they need to create awesome products in the places developers already congregate.
The introduction of Google Shopping Campaigns shows that the company will continue to innovate on the advertising front so it’s essential that code base that supports the management of these services is as accessible as possible.
At the end of the day the easier it is for developers to access the latest client libraries, the quicker the pace of innovation for third party developers and agencies like CPC Strategy allowing us to drive better results for our clients, the advertisers, and better experiences and outcomes for consumers, like you and I. Hats off to Google for embracing Github as a place where developers can keep their libraries up to date.”
Our Senior Software Engineer, Juan Torres (@onema) weighs in as well:
The Google Adwords API SDKs (software development kits) were recently moved to GitHub. How does this change things for the AdWords developer community?
One word: Awesome! Google has been hosting it’s own API client libraries in Google Code which lacks the popularity and social element of other open source hosting services like GitHub. GitHub is more than a hosting platform for software projects, it provides elements of a social network: feeds, followers, wikis, and statistics for projects and developers.
In addition to these they have implemented a web interface that makes GIT, a popular source code management system, beautiful, fun and easy to use.
By moving their open source projects to GitHub, Google is almost guaranteed to see more collaboration and even pressure from the community to implement new features and increase the quality of the code.
We are already starting to see the positive impact of this move. For example, starting April 1st the Google Ads PHP library can be installed using Composer (a major dependency manager for PHP). Updating their PHP library is a step in the right direction for Google, but there are definitely some strides I’d like to see. One shortcoming is that classes in the library cannot be auto-loaded yet.
What does Google adding Composer support mean for PHP developers?
Composer is a dependency manager for PHP. At this point adding the composer.json file and publishing the package in packagist.org (the largest composer repository) means that developers can install the Google Ads PHP Library (googleads-php-lib) in their projects by using the one command OR adding a single line in a configuration file. Developers will no longer have to maintain the PHP library as third party code but rather will be able to install it or update it using Composer.
Who are other developers doing interesting things with the Google AdWords Libraries?
As far as development goes we’ve used a modified version of the google-ads-php-lib library maintained by Colin Mutter. He has basically made the google-ads-php-lib Composer and auto-loader friendly. His spinoff of the AdWords library has been installed over 20,000 times in one year!
That is really an impressive number and a simple example of the value that collaboration and open source brings to the table. It also indicates that there is a significant need for the work he’s doing, work that Google could probably help out with.
What are some changes or advancements you’d like to see from the Google Ads PHP Library?
As a PHP developer that uses the AdWords Library, I hope to see Google implementing PHP Standards like PSR-0/1/2. Essentially this would help developers share their code across multiple projects and frameworks.
This basically entails that they (or the developer community) would have to improve or re-write large portions of the code to make it easier to use and integrate into different projects or frameworks.
There is much to do, but the move to GitHub and enabling developers to install the library as a dependency using composer are steps in the right direction. I can’t wait to see what comes out of these Software Development Kits.