Today in APIs: Nike Launches the Nike+ Developer Portal, Corporate Hackathons and Exploitation, and 11 New APIs

Greg Bates
Jan. 21 2013, 12:52PM EST

Nike launches the Nike+ Developer Portal. The thin line between corporate hackathons and exploitation. Plus: Twitter libraries that support the latest version, Facebook cuts off access to Voxer over competition concerns, and 11 new APIs.

Nike+ Developer Portal to Get You Up and Running for March Startup Accelerator

Nick Summers reports in TNW that Nike has launched its Nike+ Developer portal ahead of it's March startup accelerator. The event is organized around Techstars to identify developers who will create products and services for athletes using Nike+. As Summers reports, Nike stands out,

"It’s an interesting development. Until now, most fitness companies and their corresponding apps – take Runtastic for example – have kept their API and user data completely walled off from other services. That makes it very difficult for users to take advantage of different apps that are suited to their lifestyle, and also for developers to create something altogether interesting and new."

Applications for the Nike+ Accelerator are open until February 3. See the Nike Accelerator site for more information on local meet ups to help developers push off the starting block, information on awards for chosen companies ($20,000 plus goodies) and other details.

App Creator Takes on Campbell's Soup and Corporate Hackathons: Too Many Developers in the Kitchen?

"Is it really worth it for developers to participate in corporate hackathons?" That's the question posed by Jamie Smyth after what he calls his "snarky" twitter exchange with Campbell's Soup following their hackathon invitation to hack the kitchen.

His opening salvo on Twitter: “I’m tired of corporations ‘inviting’ us to do their work for them.” He provoked this tweeted response, later deleted, from Campbell Soup Global Head of Digital and Social Adam Kmiec, “I’ll assume we shouldn’t send you or your organization any RFPs in the future.”

Smyth delineates the problem: while the contest is a win for Campbell's, who gets cred for hosting it, meets lots of developers, and gets "a nice launch of some product that lets people look up new ways to use V8 carrot juice," to use Smyth's words, 93% of the 30 qualifying developers lose out. While one lucky winner gets $50 grand and possibly a job out of the contest, and a runner up gets $10k,  most get nothing for their hours of slogging and creativity. After the contest, losers apparently no longer have access to Campbell's API. So while they can port what they created to other applications, what was built specifically around that API is apparently lost.

But Smyth isn't penning a manifesto against all hackathons,

"The point I'm making is that developers who are thinking of entering this type of contest should consider what they'll be left with if they are not the winner. In the case of the Campbell soup Hacroutonathon (thank you +Kosso K), you'll be left with no money and an app that you spent a ton of time writing that's somewhat dependent on the Campbell soup API. Did you gain experience with a technology that's likely to be marketable? No. You learned the ins and out of the Campbell's recipe API.

How does that measure up to something like the [recently announced] Google Glass hackathon? ...Google has not mentioned what type of award, if any, will be given to the winners of the hackathon. But award or not, ALL of the participants in Google Glass Found hackathon walk away with highly marketable experience and knowledge. Google is not dangling a carrot in order to get some apps written on the cheap. The same cannot be said for Campbell's."

Smyth acknowledges that Campbell's is being totally open about what it is doing, and is not "doing anything predatory, evil, or unethical". But, he adds,

"...my question to software developers out there who are thinking of devoting any real effort to a corporate hackathon like this is, “Why?”

People have long sorted out their differences over dinner and drinks (think: Obama's famous beer summit). Campbell's certainly has the ingredients. But it might take more than a Creamy-Vodka-Bowties-with-Mushrooms summit (dish featured above) to sort this out.

API News You Won't Want to Miss

13 New APIs

Today we had 13 new APIs added to our API directory including an asian financial securities information and trading service, a url shortening service, a voice messaging service, a document and url summarization service, a genetic structure prediction service, an application development for vehicles platform and a digital mapping services. Below is more details on each of these new APIs.

APEC SecuritiesAPEC Securities API: Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a securities retailer that caters to both businesses and individuals. The APEC website provides both online financial information and trading capabilities. Their API provides a programmatic method through which users can make orders and payments, set and manage alerts, and retrieve financial information of all kinds. The APEC website is offered in both Vietnamese and English.

Bit.ly Social DataBit.ly Social Data API: Bit.ly allows users to shorten, share, and track links (URLs). The Bit.ly Social Data API allows developers to access and integrate data about social sharing, referrals, social media use, and other social data of shortened links with other applications. Some example API methods include returning high volumes, categories, and realtime sharing and clicking.

Cisco Unity Connection Messaging InterfaceCisco Unity Connection Messaging Interface API: The Cisco Unity Connection Messaging Interface (CUMI) is a messaging API for Cisco Unity Connection that has been designed to be stable and simple to use. It is based on leading industry standards for web-based API development, and provides access to a wide set of Connection messaging functionality.

With the API users can access functionality such as sending messages, receiving messages, replying to messages and sending broadcast messages. It uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in XML.

ClippedClipped API: Clipped is a web and mobile application that summarizes articles, documents, and other content into simplified bullet points with the main points.

The Clipped API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality of Clipped with other applications. The main API method returns parts of a specified URL, such as the title and summary.

COILS predict protein coiled-coil regionsCOILS predict protein coiled-coil regions API: The service provides predictions of coiled-coil regions within a protein structure through application of an algorithm from Lupas et al. It assesses the probability that some part of a protein structure represents a coiled-coil formation by comparing flanking sequences with those of proteins established as exhibiting such formations.

API methods support submission of a protein sequence to generate a processing job and begin processing. The API returns any elements within the sequence that match known exemplars of coiled-coil structures.

General MotorsGeneral Motors API: General Motors offers developers two APIs - "In Vehicle API" and "Remote API." Both APIs allow developers to access and integrate the functionality and data behind the APIs with other applications and to create new applications. Some example API methods include retrieving current position, retrieving speed, and dialing phone numbers. The APIs allow for voice-recognized applications to be built and used with GM vehicles.

Documentation is available with log-in.

Maporama Geocentric Web ServicesMaporama Geocentric Web Services API: Maporama Solutions is a leading provider of digital mapping solutions. Their mapping solutions gives users the ability to combine the strengths of geographical information and business intelligence, add value to enterprise data, assist decision-making, optimize resource allocation and match supply with demand in the context of location.

The Maporama Geocentric Web Services suite offers a set of APIs that allows developers to build location-centric applications. Maporama CoderService performs geocoding and reverse geocoding operations. The Map Web Service offers the method to render or prepare maps. The Itinerary Web Service exposes the methods to compute itineraries and distances. The APIs use SOAP protocol and responses are formatted in XML.

National Cellular Directory People SearchNational Cellular Directory People Search API: The National Cellular Directory is a people search website that lets users search for a person by name or by phone number using reverse phone lookup. National Cellular Directory Happy Hour People search allows users to search phone numbers (including cell phone numbers) to find the owner behind the number. This free service has an API for developers. The National Cellular Directory People Search API uses SOAP messaging with HTTP POST or GET methods for accepting requests and returns results via XML. Full documentation is available with registration.

Nobel PrizeNobel Prize API: Nobelprize.org is a website with information about Nobel Prizes, recipients of Nobel Prizes, and what Noble Prizes have been awarded for.

The Nobel Prize API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality and data from Nobelprize.org with other applications and to create new applications. Example API methods include returning Nobel Prizes winners, returning information about Nobel Prize Laureates, and Nobel Prizes by country.

PcProf predict physico-chemical profiles of proteinsPcProf predict physico-chemical profiles of proteins API: The service provides a profile of a submitted protein sequence, describing its characteristics in relation to a list of properties established for known structures. Characteristics described include hydrophilicity/hydropathy, flexibility, antigenicity according to two measures, accessibility, and transmembranous helices. The profiles generated predict the behavior o be expected of the sample genetic structure.

API methods support submission of a protein structure detected in research results. The API returns measures of key physical and chemical properties known to be associated with such structures to form a profile of the sample.

SetOnxSetOnx API: SetOn{x} is a utility app that allows the user to add features to mobile phones. Examples of possible functionality on the site include location-based volume that adjusts phone volume when you are at work and raises it back to 50% when the user departs from work and MOT-based Radios that switches the phone to bluetooth when a user is driving. The API allows users to call SetOn{x} by launching it as an app.

ShepHertz App42 CloudShepHertz App42 Cloud API: ShepHertz Technologies’ App42 Cloud is a RESTful API service built to support app development irrespective of environment. App42 renders technical and business services as Cloud APIs across all major platforms and languages. API calls and responses may be JSON or XML formatted.

ZootleZootle API: Zootle is an online sales, inventory, and client relationship manager. Zootle can be used for contact management, supply chain management, and online sales.

The Zootle API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality of Zootle with other applications and websites. Some example API methods include adding content, managing contacts, and retrieving inventory details.

Greg Bates A writer for Programmableweb since 2012, Greg is a freelance writer and a maniacal editor of dissertations and term papers. - Follow me on Google+

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