Dear Economic Populist Readers. You may have noticed we have stopped publishing articles. This is because the Saint Louis Federal Reserve Fred Graph system was changed without even a warning. They removed the very fast, professional economic graphing system and API, which we used heavily, and replaced it with more of a toy. As a result over 3,000 articles on this site are now ruined and have terrible, distorted graphs that no one would consider publishing professionally. Worse, the site articles now have very slow page loads for each article utilizing the old FRED graphing system and some take over 30 seconds to render, if at all. We also are throwing many web errors due to the newly broken FRED calling API.
Even most disconcerting, we warned St. Louis Federal Reserve this would happen and were promised the old, professional graphing system and API would remain in place for legacy use. We showed them web developer test results, pointed out the many issues with their plan and slow technology, to no avail. In essence, we were blown off.
Now the site is destroyed. We're terribly sorry. We were told ages ago the API would not change and the way we using FRED was acceptable. Even though our technical expertise was ignored, we were promised by the St. Louis Federal Reserve they would not change the graphing system for existing graphs. Thus, we were caught off guard with way too many articles utilizing FRED.
FRED was a free public service offered by the Federal Reserve, and we were most grateful for it. Fred used to be the most professional graphing system on the web and was a great resource for many economic sites and economists, not just ours. One could create professional graphs, easily access most economic data series, code, customize and calculate new graphs, on the fly. We utilized FRED because there was no other way to generate graphs to illustrate our economic observations that quickly. For us to generate optimized images that quickly, the only other option was to build such a system ourselves. The old FRED enabled us to publish articles with illustrations in record time. With the old FRED system, we could generate new graphs in under one minute that loaded in milliseconds from the Saint Louis Reserve servers.
Now it is gone, destroyed, blown away and so is our site.
For all of our readers who say never trust the Fed, well, turns out you were right. This is also a violation of engineering development 101. Never break legacy APIs, never leave your customers hanging out to dry, yet unfortunately this is what has happened.
One can say what do you want for free and normally I would concur, yet so often we were assured the Saint Louis Reserve team would not break the API, would not destroy legacy graphs and the professional, optimized graphing system. At least Microsoft has warned they are leaving XP users high and dry even though there is absolutely no reason to stop support for this operating system. In our case we were promised the opposite, that the Professional FRED graphing system would still be in place for legacy graphs and links. We have complained, we have pointed to data, we have called, all to no avail. We're simply left high and dry without a care in the world and since FRED was a free service, there is not a thing we can do about it.
Dear readers, let us know what you want us to do. There is no doubt the site must be taken down, the entire database modified, alerts to search engines that over 60% of our content is now destroyed, not professional with loading timeouts is required. We apologize for we know this has already caused sites which link to us enormous problems. The removal of our site content will break thousands of links around the web. We will lose our professional status as a news source. We know this will cause site traffic to drop, page rankings to plummet and readers to be lost. In fact it is already happened to our site. We are being dropped from search engines almost immediately due to the terrible graphs displayed instead of the old, fast loading Professional graphs shown on the site previously.
In essence, almost from the ground up, we have to start over and in an emergency situation, redesign the Economic Populist plus remove over 60% of our previously published articles.
Let this be fair warning, dear readers. Trusting others, their APIs and methods to display content around the web is clearly a huge mistake. Never trust the Fed or any other API which has the potential to destroy a site if broken will be our motto if we rebuild The Economic Populist.
Thanks for your patronage.
The Economic Populist
January 2008 to March 2014
Update April 4th 2014:
Many people have requested we keep the site going. The FRED graphing system destroyed our site with the over 3,000 existing graphs we displayed changed on us without notice,. They slow down the page load to the point an article will not display at all, they changed the colors, size and resolution of the graphs so they are unreadable.. We are also without a graphing system now. There is no way for us to produce so many graphs amplifying our economic statistics analysis. All we can say at this point is consider emailing and calling the Saint Louis Federal Reserve and voice your complaint. Honestly, the site is not fixable. We'll have to delete over 3,000 articles that we spent many hours writing to fix the site.