At last week’s Small Business Web Summit, I hosted a pair of API sessions, including one on developer experience. Joe Dennis of ItDuzzit and Ray Anderson of BatchBook led the spirited discussion. In the end, the group voted on the most important aspects we covered, with standards narrowly beating out documentation as the most important factors.
Software quality firm SmartBear is releasing freeware versions of some of its products, including API testing tool SoapUI and the guts behind the AlertSite API. SmartBear charges hefty license fees for the commercial versions of these products. It expects some of those who download and find value in the tools to find more value by becoming SmartBear customers. This freemium approach borrows from both SaaS and open source, with an eye toward community service mixed with the classic food court taste test.
The HQCasanova Weekly CO2 API is incredibly simple. It’s also a frighteningly clear measurement of how our planet is doing. It measures the level of CO2 in the air in parts per million (ppm), a major player in causing global climate disruption.
While testing out a new tool I’m working on that uses a variety of OAuth2 providers and thought I’d catalog some of the quirks I came across. This is just for the authorization flow, not for actually making requests once you’ve secured a token. Now that the OAuth2 spec is solidified we should start seeing less and less of these issues.
More often than not all it takes to start a revolution is somebody who is angry enough to change the status quo. Ever since the dawn of social media sites the predominant business model has been variations of the walled garden approach to content originally pioneered by America Online (AOL). Today that walled garden approach manifests itself in the form of APIs that have been locked down by social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
I recently had the opportunity to moderate a panel for the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council where the subject matter was “The API Revolution.” In the hour long discussion, the panel, which included members from industry leaders like Brainshark, Akamai and Constant Contact, wrestled with several topics that I think most companies are grappling with – 1) which APIs do you expose, 2) to whom do you expose them, 3) do you make the investment to build new ones, and 4) how do you leverage any of them for revenue.
Do we know how to end poverty? According to the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Knowledge Services we know so much that it’s hard to sift through the answers. Hard to find the right answers to create better informed and more effective policies. The IDS Knowledge Services API aims to make that search meaningful by letting developers integrate data searching on over 32,000 abstracts, over 8,000 development organizations and on research in over 250 countries.
The rise of JSON has been apparent for some time. Previously we’ve pointed out that 1 in 5 new APIs were choosing JSON over XML. The trend has continued, with an even greater percentage of APIs saying goodbye to XML. Anecdotally, it’s even more interesting that some established players like the Box.net API and YouTube API are making the switch in updated versions.
“Two start-ups working together are like two drunks leaning on each other for support”. I first heard this phrase from a former CEO of a successful start-up company who had previously built his business up from scratch ten years ago and sold it for tens of millions of dollars. At the time I agreed with him. But now I’m not so sure. I think the emergence of API technology as a strategic component of a start-up’s business strategy means that 2 start-ups working together can achieve more than just giving each other mutual support.
The ProPublica Forensics API allows access to data from Propublica’s investigation into the quality of autopsies across America. The API provides “state and county-level data about coroner and medical examiner systems in the United States.” The RESTful API is available in JSON, XML and JSON-P formats. An astounding variety of data are available, from the ratio of autopsies to what is expected, to the number of uncertified pathologists working in a state or county system, and on and on.