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.
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.