At the API Craft un-conference this week in Detroit, some of the best minds in the API business gathered to talk over the problems that plague us most. It was a unique event in that the agenda was set and run by the attendees in true meet-up fashion. Quakers will recognize the format – for the conference kick-off, the group sits in silence until someone is moved to suggest a session. You suggest it, you run it and anyone who attends your session also participates in it. The sessions are true whiteboard brainstorming activities, with the outcomes posted into Github for future reading.
What if you wanted to tackle a really big issue. How about freeing the 27 million people caught in “modern day slavery” through human trafficking (statistic from Wikipedia). Would you: A) Figure out the answer and build the biggest organization you could to solve the problem by yourself, or, B) Work with other organizations already working on this issue because cooperation is essential to solving this, or C) Build an API so the smart people who chose B could have an even bigger impact? Freedom Registry, founded by a group called Chad Dai (which stands for “joining hands” in Khmer) is already doing B, has just chosen C. They do just what their name says, provide a registry of organizations working on the issue. The Freedom Registry REST API allows developers to retrieve data from the registry.
It should be solely a good thing when APIs get mentioned in a popular business magazine. After all, APIs mean business, we wrote over a year ago. When the term, as geeky as it is, turned up in my Inc Magazine, it was the context and the wording that kept it from being entirely exciting.
Many APIs eventually find their way to the ProgrammableWeb deadpool. They end up there for various reasons: no business model, replaced by a newer service or ceased being useful. The most popular of these dead APIs are predominantly from two big tech firms: Google and Yahoo. Search and mapping make up the bulk of the functionality behind these 12 popular–but no longer available–APIs.
For those of us paying attention to APIs for awhile, we’re used to the question: what is an API? When I felt my answer wasn’t good enough, I made up a new acronym and started telling people that API stands for Apps, Partners, Income. Recently I cornered five API experts to ask them the same question. The video below shows how they answered the question.
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.