A few weeks ago, we caught up with Ben Birt from our AdSense API Engineering team in London. Today, we'd like to introduce you to another member of the team -- Nick Johnson, a Software Engineer who joined Google in May 2011.

What’s your main contribution to API development?
I could tell you... but then I would have to use one of those flashy things from Men in Black on you. (We have those at Google). Then I’d probably have to use it on me. I’m essentially a general purpose code monkey at this point in time, but I have some very cool stuff coming into the pipeline soon.

Describe your average day at work
My average day starts with me grabbing a coffee and some cereal from the kitchen. Aside from our (seated) stand up team meeting, everything else changes on a daily basis. So long as I get to do some coding, I’m generally happy.

What do you like most about the AdSense Management API?
I think the Ad Clients list call is my favourite. It’s less typing, so that makes it pretty ideal for making test calls. In all seriousness though, I think the thing I like best is the potential. The ways in which you can use and combine your data are entirely in your hands now.

We have some pretty cool surprises coming from inside Google (but when is that not true?), but we also can’t wait to see what third party developers create.

Tell us one best practice about the API
Think about what you have, and what you need. Be smart with your calls and make the most of them. Try to multiplex and retrieve as much of the data you need in the least number of calls. You need to balance this with the responsiveness of your app though. Quite obviously more data will take more time.

Another important thing is that if you have any problems or feature suggestions, then by all means, please...
...tell Silvano and Sérgio :) (members of the AdSense API Developer Relations team)

Enough work stuff, let’s go personal. We’ve heard that you lived in Scotland for some years. Is it true that they deep fry everything up there?
I think we both know that science has proven any foodstuff can be improved by submerging it in a large quantity of hot fat. It’s like adding “in space” to the end of a plot description. I did live in the beautiful city of Edinburgh (s’up to my homies on the Morningsi-ide) for ten extremely pleasant years, before I moved down to the big smoke for a job with the big G.

No, it’s not true that the Scottish deep fry everything. It would be far more accurate to say they will deep fry anything. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it though. Deep fried Mars bars are very real, but I’m afraid I never tried them. I was worried I might like them.

Ok, let me ask you some geeky questions now. I’ve heard that you like functional programming...
Truly, your wit is sharp as a pillow.

Functional programming is something I’m slowly getting my head around, but the biggest barrier (for me, at least) is the attitude of the functional programming evangelists. It’s like talking to someone who thinks Emacs is better than Vim.

I mean, come on.

Since it’s obligatory in these sorts of interviews, why don’t you throw some film and book recommendations our way?
I’m at least as big a film nerd as I am a computer nerd (and I do the latter for a living!), so I could literally talk to you all day about that. If I’m completely honest, the film I saw in 2011 which I enjoyed the most was almost certainly Fast [and Furious] 5, but I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say it’s the best film I saw this year. I will always love The Matrix, Fight Club, Pitch Black and Amélie, and right now I’m really quite excited about Joss Whedon(!)’s The Avengers.

If I had to recommend one book it would probably be either The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, or Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon (though that is really not a light read, in any sense of the word). Recently I read, and loved, “The Alloy of Law”, Brandon Sanderson’s follow up to his brilliant Mistborn trilogy, so I think I’ll also have to recommend those books.

Will you fix my computer?

Fine. Will you code my favorite API?
I’m on it.