Today in APIs: Twitter IPO, API Design Pamphlet, and 11 New APIs

Greg Bates
Feb. 28 2013, 11:44AM EST

Does Twitter's API presage an IPO? API design by the book. Plus: How Gnip and FullContact combine their APIs, Twilio Fund adds 5 new companies, and 11 new APIs.

From API to IPO: Will Twitter Take Flight?

Does the release of Twitter's Ads API suggest an IPO in August? That's the question Jim Edwards poses in a Business Insider post. As he puts it,

"Advertisers are eager for an easy, effective way to target the millions of people who use Twitter every day. The API provides that, and thus it will likely also provide a solid economic underpinning for Twitter."

Here's why he thinks it means August: look at Facebook's history. It launched an ad API in August of 2011. Revenue shot up immediately, reaching 250% by the end of 2012. Facebook launched its IPO just 6 months after its ad API. That same logic and timeline would put Twitter on track for an IPO in August. Edwards acknowledges that many other factors come into play for an IPO's launching. And, he makes clear,  his thoughts on timing are just speculation--it wasn't a little birdie telling him. And yet, he points out, the ability to demonstrate a great revenue stream is clearly one very important factor in getting a company ready for an IPO.

Speculation or not,  the buzz about the potential link between the API and IPO is in the air. Teressa Iezzi, writing for FastCompany at co.CREATE, put it this way: "...the newly launched API Twitter greases the skids for advertisers and opens up Twitter’s ad revenue potential as the company grows (and maybe looks toward going public)."

Stay tuned for August.

The Little Manual of API Design

In a post today, Lukas Mathis looks at The Little Manual of API Design by Jasmin Blanchette. He points specifically to the section on misuse, quoting Blanchette directly,

"A well-designed API makes it easier to write correct code than incorrect code, and encourages good programming practices. It does not needlessly force the user to call methods in a strict order or to be aware of implicit side effects or semantic oddities."

He also points to her insights on consistency. She says, "Beware of false consistency...Asymmetry of function should be reflected by asymmetry of form." Mathis explains further that,

"It’s easy to take "consistency" to mean that everything should be the same. That’s wrong, however. Consistency also means that different things should be different, to prevent people from forming wrong expectations."

Are design principles timeless? That's a pertinent question in the fast changing field of API development. What Mathis doesn't mention in his post is that the manual dates from 2008. Do the principles still hold true half a decade later? Her concluding point seems to hold up well, or perhaps has become so integrated into general practice that it has become an unarticulated assumption. Blanchette puts it this way,

"The best API is no API. In a movie, the best special effects are those that you don’t notice. A similar principle applies to API design: The ideal features are those that require no (or very little) additional code from the application writer."

Does that timelessness hold for the rest of the 32-page manual? Check it out for yourself.

API News You Shouldn't Miss

11 New APIs

Today we had 11 new APIs added to our API directory including a form data extraction service, a time tracking service, a taxi cab booking service, a financial audit service, a ski resort lift status and information service and a mobile application platform. Below are more details on each of these new APIs.

Agencyport TurnstileAgencyport Turnstile API: The service provides for extraction of data from ACORD-compliant forms used in the insurance industry for serialization as XML. It aims to integrate form data and form-based processes into efficient XML-based workflows to transfer data to point-of-sale, customer relationship management (CRM), and other backoffice systems. This process is intended to replace manual rekeying and sequestration of data in emailed ACORD forms, PDF files, and other inaccessible formats.

API methods support submission of forms compliant with standards of the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD) for extraction of data and serialization as ACORD XML. Integrating applications can then process the XML to populate records in POS, CRM, and other interconnected systems.

ChrometaChrometa API: The service provides automated task and time tracking by logging the interval from its activation to deactivation. It captures the resulting time measurement and applies categories, allowing reports on time management, billable hours tracking, task and activity flows, and efficiency. It is intended to eliminate the need for separate notes and external time-keeping for improved accuracy and simplicity.

API methods support activating and deactivating the service's time-tracking function with assignment of time interval categories such as activity name, billable, applications and URLs used, etc. Methods also support logging of time spent measured in seconds. The API allows reporting against accumulated time-use data or integration of data with other applications.

Click A TaxiClick A Taxi API: The service provides automated ordering of taxi service in 5000 European and North American cities. The provider offers mobile applications for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone platforms as well as API access for integration with other applications. The service access the device GPS function to detect location and suggest a pickup address or allow the user to designate an address. It then routes a taxi reservation request to providers and completes booking.

API methods support detection of location and selection of suggested places or street addresses nearby. Methods suggest taxi companies serving that location and support communication with those providers to check availability and vehicle capacity. Methods then complete booking of an order for taxi service.

EndatioEndatio API: Endatio offers a portfolio of services to that include custom workflow software for companies needing to automate their business processes to enable them to achieve the maximum benefit from their IT and software investment. The Endatio API gives the user access to: Credit Checks, Sanctions Checks, Credit and Debit Card Collections, Credit Financing, Postcode and Address Finder, and Bank Account Verifications. An account is required with service.

liftie.infoliftie.info API: The service provides updated lift status for ski resorts across North America and some in Europe. It aggregates a number of separate data feeds to report on lifts in operation and out of service at selected resorts along with details of lift ticket prices and discounts offered by the resorts. Data feeds from other resorts can be added.

API methods support submission of a request specifying a resort name or a U.S. state, Canadian province, or other jurisdiction. Methods return a listing of operating status reported for lifts at the specified resort or for all resorts in the specified location. Data refreshes every 65 seconds.

MobRockerMobRocker API: MobRocker is a mobile application creation platform that helps users to create applications for iPhone and Android applications. The MobRocker API requires a Gold level subscription or above to access. The service is contract free and all content updates are simple, dynamic, and simultaneous to all platforms. For additional information, contact MobRocker.

Sick MarketingSick Marketing API: The service provides search engine optimization functions by submitting backlinks to build networks of connections among websites and increase ranking in search results. It leverages a WordPress plugin and related functions for analysis and scheduling of link submission activities. Those same functions are available via a web interface or integration with other applications via API.

API methods support grouping and categorizing links by type and topic for selection and submission via the web service. Methods support profiles describing individual links and groups for access by the system's submission process with begin and end dates and other characteristics controlling their use. An add_link method triggers submission of an individual link via the service.

SignalP/SignalP4SignalP/SignalP4 API: The service provides predictions of genetic structures based on neural network algorithms and Markov statistical models. It analyzes data about the frequency of amino acid sequences for various organisms and generates likely existence and locations of signal peptide cleavage sites to be expected in their genetic structures. Organism groups covered include gram-positive and gram-negative prokaryotes as well as eukaryotes. The same provider maintains an , as well.

API methods support submission of the amino acid sequence to be analyzed along with an organism type, preferred prediction method, and desired statistical prediction certainty threshold. Methods also support monitoring the service processing queue and retrieving the completed analytical result.

Sociocast PredictionSociocast Prediction API: The service provides tracking of application traffic and analytics to segment visitors and markets. It aims to help target advertising and other messaging strategies by audiences and users based on predictions of their preferences and behaviors. Proprietary analytical algorithms and “Big Data” processing reference the provider's data repositories and compare events and user patterns to describe user characteristics and predict effectiveness of messaging.

API methods support definition of entities to be tracked and logging of application events associated with those entities. Methods support detection and assignment of attributes to defined entities and development of audience profiles. Methods also support assignment of corresponding content profiles to enable matching of users and messages.

VoxSigmaVoxSigma API: The service provides conversion of recorded speech input to text output. It also provides identification of language in a recorded speech sample, and it can synchronize speech with corresponding text. It handles content in many European languages as well as Mandarin and Arabic. Geographic redundancy helps to provide effective service across countries and regions.

API methods support either real-time or batch processing of automated transcription jobs, from submission of audio sample through delivery of text. Methods also support basic detection of language spoken in audio samples and synchronization of audio with corresponding text transcript.

Yandex Rich ContentYandex Rich Content API: Yandex is a major Russia-based internet company and search engine with the stated mission of answering any question internet users may have. In 2012 Yandex handled the majority of all search traffic in Russia.

The Yandex Rich Content API provides developer access to metadata from the Yandex content system, containing tens of billions of pages. Available metadata includes text summaries of pages, full-page text, images, titles, and page URLs. More data types are planned.

The Yandex Rich Content API is intended for any service that works with web pages, particularly where users exchange links. Potential uses include browser versions of social networks, URL shorteners that provide additional features, instant messaging, social and blogging platforms, and browsers.

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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