Thu, 12 Jul 07

Wesabe open up their API and ask me to help write their press release...

Ok, so that second bit isn’t strictly true ;-) I was, however, flattered to be contacted by Debbie from Wesabe to answer a few questions and maybe provide a quote for their press release. They have just improved their service by offering an API after all.

They asked, and I answered by rambling quite a bit. In the preview of the press release I’ve seen, my ramblings have been summarized in three words :-) Hey, I’m just honoured they asked. I also asked if I could post their questions and my reply here, so, in all its glory, here it be.

Debbie Pfeifer

Hey, Chris.

I work with Marc Hedlund at Wesabe. I know he gave you a heads up that we’re working on releasing an API. We’re getting close – we plan to get it out either late this week or early next week – and I was writing to ask for a favor.

I’m putting together a press release announcing the API and we thought it would be cool to get a quote from a developer who has done some hacks. If you’d rather not participate, no worries whatsoever. If you’d be willing, following is a quick list of questions:

Chris Roos

Cool, I appreciate being considered.

Debbie Pfeifer

Why do you use Wesabe?

Chris Roos

Because it’s a great application :-) No, seriously it’s because tagging makes sense to me. It makes sense that, if I buy an apple, I should be able to categorise it as an apple, fruit, lunch, food, groceries and others that I can’t think of right now. It’s a bit looser than traditional finance applications which I find perfect. I must admit that I don’t currently use the social side of wesabe, helping others out with tips and advice, but that in no way detracts from the usefulness of the service to me. I also love the fact that I’m able to interact with you guys, it means a lot to know that you’re listening.

Debbie Pfeifer

From your blog, I saw the projects you’ve already done (automating downloads). Are there other things you’d like to do with Wesabe once you have the API?

Chris Roos

Hmm, let’s see. I’m a big fan of the command line. I’ve already been thinking about tidying up some of the previous work I’ve done so that it effectively provides a command line interface to my banking websites. I can see that a command line interface to Wesabe might be quite appealing to me too. I’m just wondering about some potential mapping mashups too. I try to tag my transactions with the place they were purchased. Assuming I tagged every purchase with at least a town or city it’d be cool to see the distribution geographically. Actually, I have a feeling I could do this with what’s available right now so maybe scrap that thought.

Debbie Pfeifer

Anything else you’d like to add?

Chris Roos

I originally had this bit under the question of why I like Wesabe, but felt it best here. To be fair, it probably doesn’t matter too much. Anyway, I like the fact that Wesabe is developing the software that my greedy, super-rich banks should be developing ;-) I love the fact that you are, in a small way, changing the world. Sticking two fingers up at traditional finance applications and banking web apps themselves, because, I assume, you know that you’re doing it right.

One other idea I’ve been thinking about is uploading my mobile phone statements to Wesabe. I currently have access to a pdf representation of my itemised bill. I’m thinking that if I can parse the pdf, or even just copy the content into a text file that I can parse, I could upload and use all the features of Wesabe to analyse my bills. I think this’d be great as I’ve personally never come across a phone company that allows ready, easy access to itemised call data in a useful format. I guess this is because they don’t want to make it to easy for us to work out that they’re screwing us over in some way (cynical huh?). Anyway, just a thought and I’m obviously not sure how that’d sit with you guys…?

Debbie Pfeifer

Again, if you’d rather not do this, I totally understand. If you’re game, could we use your name? Also, how would you describe yourself… a (your job) from (city)?

Chris Roos

Feel free to use my name. Although not really one for titles, I guess I’d be classed as a software developer working in London, but from Ramsgate.

Debbie Pfeifer

Thanks, Chris. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Chris Roos

One quick question. Am I able to publish this email to my blog? If not, I’ll probably just published my answers to your questions, which I could paraphrase to offer context.

Cheers, and hope there’s at least something useful in these ramblings.

Chris

Debbie Pfeifer

Best,
Debbie Pfeifer
Wesabe

Update 17:10 – made the email legible. Thanks Paul.