PW Year in Review: Hottest Topics of 2013

Eric Carter, Founder & Corporate Counsel, Dartsand
Dec. 27 2013, 09:10AM EST

ProgrammableWeb enjoyed another tremendous year in 2013. The year in APIs was filled with landmarks, innovation and massive expansion of the API economy. ProgrammbleWeb readers kept us busy, and four particular areas of interest prompted the most attention.

#1 Directory highlights

One of ProgrammableWeb's greatest strengths is the robust API Directory. In April 2013, the Directory passed 9000 APIs. The growth trend continued, and the directory passed the 10,000 mark before the end of the year. The API Directory is split into many subcategories, which simplifies search and navigation. Of particular interest are the categories that summoned the most readers. The top five Directory Highlights from 2013 are:

  1. Stocks APIs
  2. Translation APIs
  3. Movies APIs
  4. BitCoin APIs
  5. Streaming APIs

What gives? Why did these five categories grab readers' attention over all others? Pinpointing an exact answer might not be possible, but I can quickly point to two aspects that explain the list: data intensiveness and emerging technology. First, consider a common thread among stocks, movies and streaming. All three require massive scale when it comes to data consumption and exceptional processing capabilities to keep an industry edge. APIs address both scalability and speed, because they enable the use of third-party infrastructure and databases, and streamline access by pinpointing the exact data needed and ignoring the rest.

Translation and BitCoin continue to grab attention and cause disruption in some well-established legacy marketplaces. Translation apps have evolved to a point of mainstream use and can now assure some standard of quality. BitCoin has caused such a stir across the global economy that governments have begun taking action to regulate the virtual currency.

#2 API design

The number two topic of the year should come as no surprise. ProgrammableWeb is a site dedicated to APIs; thus, high interest in API design is a given. In fact, the most-read post of the year questioned the ongoing dominance of the most prevalent method to build APIs: Is REST losing its flair - REST API alternatives. Our editor in chief, David Berlind, reviewed the October attack on Buffer and illustrated the penultimate importance of security in API design. Another reader's choice examined the beginnings of the REST API movement, and suggested some progressive steps needed to move APIs to the next level a little over a decade after REST protocol's formal beginnings: API Design is Stuck in 2008. A final post in the API Design category argued for the expanded use of Real-Time REST APIs. APIs stand at the heart and soul of ProgrammableWeb. The usefulness of an API can be directly tied to the design work put into it. Accordingly, ProgrammableWeb will continue to examine design trends, changes, improvements and disruptions.

#3 Trend setting

Seeing as APIs constitute the driving force behind many sectors of emerging and disruptive technology, so it makes sense that ProgrammableWeb readers are attracted to trend-setting technologies. In 2013, ProgramableWeb dedicated numerous posts to emerging technology trends that have changed or have started to change a well-established landscape. Data science and big data have certainly arisen as a buzzwords across many industries, and the Data Science Toolkit and its open approach to big data was well received throughout 2013. Social media is here to stay, and it continues to encroach into the territory of well-established traditional media outlets. Of the many reviews of social media players, ProgrammableWeb's Rising Stars of Social Networks generated significant buzz across cyberspace. How about gesture recognition as an emerging technology? Most people probably haven't yet heard of this technology, but ProgrammableWeb readers were anxious to read about Leap Motion's SDK, which puts gesture recognition technology in developers' hands.

Banks, both private and government run, jumped on the API bandwagon this year and explored the possibilities of an API strategy to enhance security, transparency and features. Standard Treasury's API strategy stirred significant interest this past summer. Traditionally, machine learning was limited to those with big needs and even bigger pockets. However, Machine Learning as a Service (MLaaS) could democratize machine learning and Swift IQ's approach was met with great interest. The "as a Service" movement continues to add players under its umbrella, and the Growing Trend of Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) sits as the final trend setter of 2013.

#4 Google

Is it hard to believe that a company that spends more than $2 billion on Research & Development every three months managed to spark enough interest among ProgrammableWeb readers to justify its own category among the hottest topics of 2013? It's no shocker that Google garnered a healthy portion of ProgrammableWeb viewership. For starters, Google's Project Glass took some major strides this year. Google's augmented reality project landed in the hands of more developers this year, and the Mirror API was launched as the driving engine for Glass applications. Although Project Glass certainly grabbed attention, any move Google made kept readers interested. When Google closed its Shopping API, a significant hole was created for startups to fill. As Google continues to explore seemingly fictitious technologies, expect APIs to be involved and ProgrammableWeb to cover the news.

As we put 2013 to bed, API enthusiasts can celebrate a successful year of API innovation, deployment and advocacy. Upon APIs, companies have arisen, industries have been transformed and developers have blossomed. In 2014, ProgrammableWeb will continue to build on its API roots and bring followers the news, docs and guides they have come to know and expect.

Eric Carter Eric is the founder of Dartsand and Corporate Counsel for a specialty technology distributor. He is a frequent contributor to technology media outlets and also serves as primary legal counsel for multiple startups in the Real Estate, Virtual Assistant, and Software Development Industries. Follow me on Google+

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