We all have strong opinions on issues that are close to our hearts, but for the most part, they remain just our opinions and often never create the change we may long to see. In particular, it’s the decisions that will have a real impact on our everyday lives that are left in the hands of the big decision makers like politicians, administrators or managers; but what if there was a way for the general public to get their voices heard? That’s where Opinionage comes in; an online service that enables users to share and compare opinions socially with the potential to make a big enough stir to catch the attention of those in power.
Snip.it lets you collect what you see on the web, be it an article, video, or image, then categorize it, add your own comments, and share it. The Snip.it API, currently in version 2, is RESTful with the response in JSON. Snip.it itself features a backbone.js-powered page load structure to speed things along.
When it comes to interacting with the over800 social APIs, it’s not just about your friend’s data. It’s also about your own data. The Personal Data Revolution is about making that data available to you, which is where the APIs come in.
Think signing petitions is useless? There’s probably an app for that. But Change.org proves the cynics wrong–every day. And now there’s a Change.org API to rattle the powerful even further. The API is in beta, is free, and uses REST with JSON returned. The API covers a multitude of requests from creating petitions to checking signatures, from looking at the case for a petition to updating them.
With over 800 social APIs, there are more options than ever to integrate services into our lives. As developers, we see the best–and often the worst–of this social data crunching.
A mobile app using the Google Analytics API ran into a really good problem to have. It got popular. The Analytiks app had enough users that it was frequently going beyond the 50K requests per day allotted to each developer. Each users has to authenticate, but then all share a single pool of requests. By contrast, the Twitter API’s per-user limit makes more sense.
The Cliflo API from New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) gives access to data from 6,500 climate stations maintained by the government of New Zealand. The API webpage notes that access is by subscription, though the cost is free, suggesting that only registration and agreement with the terms and conditions are required. Access to data gathered by Pacific Island stations is restricted by agreement with Pacific Island countries. However it is possible to obtain access by permission.
The Salsa Commons API is a REST and XML API that, as Salsa explains,
“At it’s simplest, using the Salsa API may consist of just a form placed on an external website … At it’s most complex, you could use a Ruby library to authenticate, pull down information on recent supporters and events, validate that data, change it, and submit it back to the node, while generating and displaying counts of petition signers — all through the API.”
You might know the term Minimum Viable Product, or MVP, popularized by Eric Ries. Hardly ever does someone define a Maximum Viable Product, or MaVP. Products are not complete when there is no feature left to added. Products are complete when there is no feature left to be removed (inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupery). An API can help you shape your MaVP.
If the age-old proverb about not judging a book by its cover is true, should you also not judge an e-book by its e-reader, whether it’s a Kindle, Nook, iDevice, or something else? If Texas-based BookShout has anything to say about it, you’ll one day be able to use their platform to read any e-book content on any device, regardless of where you bought it. But the technology is still immature, and Amazon and other e-book retailers may continue to make things difficult for such content aggregators.