The Latest News On The API Economy
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Popular cloud-stored notes app Evernote recently announced its first contest. Developers can use the Evernote API to build apps that help users remember and track anything using photos and text. The contest is serious, with big prizes: $50,000 to the winner, and $50,000 more in prizes up for grabs.
Mimeo.com just launched a new area to support its family of APIs, print marketplaces and enterprise print integration tools. Developers can build applications that offer print-on-demand services, using the Mimeo Connect Cloud Print API. Mimeo.com has long had a SOAP API, but has recently built an easier-to-use RESTful API for developers.
RESTful approaches to APIs have made them easier to deploy and consume, leading to a recent explosion in the number of available APIs. One byproduct of such growth is there are a lot of APIs offering similar or even duplicate services, but that have very different approaches to delivering their APIs. Cloud computing and social networking are two areas where we’ve seen the growth in APIs. As the number of APIs grow, the need for interoperability increases.
Joyent, a company that you might have heard of in connection to Node.js (arguably the hottest new technology on the web today), is offering some mean competition to Amazon’s EC2 service. Joyent makes no bones about it, its Joyent Node service is faster and cheaper than EC2 and Joyent has the histograms to prove it. Will no.de be enough to persuade Node.js developers to stick with Joyent?
The cloud came tumbling down for many startups and sites based on the Amazon EC2 API today. There's a perception that storage and scaling in the cloud is supposed to mean we don't have to deal with outages. It's pretty clear that's not actually the case, as some popular sites like Heroku and Foursquare nosedived.
E-signature company DocuSign is celebrating its new San Francisco office with a Hackathon on May 14 and 15. The event will bring developers together to build atop its DocuSign Enterprise API. After 35 non-stop hours of heated competition, four winners will receive $25,000 (USD) cash prizes.
If you’re writing a serious application, on the web or otherwise, you’ve got to have good logging. In the context of application development, reading logs is my personal favorite method for tracking bugs and rooting them out. A service like Loggly is perfect for programmers like me. It provides an easy to use web interface with searching capabilities that allows you to see what your application is logging at any time that you’d like to check in. Debugging with Loggly is nice, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg, thanks in part to its Loggly API.
TribeHR, a software-as-a-service human resources solution, is bringing powerful API integration into the HR industry on multiple fronts. TribeHR co-founder Joseph Fung explained to us at SWSXi how APIs fit into the company's overall strategy:
Google continues to churn out releases to its platform-as-a-service Google App Engine API. Since the beginning of the year, there have been new releases every 4-6 weeks. The latest is out with focus on bringing parity between its Java and Python releases, a couple of new APIs that allow writing applications that monitor incoming live data and read/write files, and some task queue/cron updates.
The number of “as a Service” types continues to grow and we are even seeing services that help you build your own service. PublishMyData falls into this category as it offers Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which enables you to offer your Data as a Service (DaaS) and it supports linked data.
Kynetx has released an uber-extension for major browsers that lets developers build add-ons to websites using the Kynetx API. As part of its move to a central extension, Kynetx launched a marketplace to list and discover apps built on top of its platform.
Appcelerator, a company focused on cross-platform development tools, has started extending itself into the world of APIs by offering mobile developers drop-in tools for integrating their applications with popular web services. Appcelerator recently announced a new offering called Titanium+Plus, a set of premium modules that developers can purchase to incorporate into applications built using Titanium Mobile, Appcelerator's open source mobile development platform. Rather than mainly providing new or deeper access to the core functions of devices, the new Titanium+Plus modules are focused outward—or maybe upward—towards the cloud. In fact, the announcement came with a new tagline: "The cloud starts here™".
Google continues to push away at improving its platform-as-a-service offering, the Google App Engine API. It has already seen two minor releases this year with the latest release bringing in much needed updates to the XMPP and Task Queue APIs. An earlier release in the year focused on the High Replication Datastore, that was clearly targeted to mission critical applications.
Cloud APIs are all about the endpoints: some services follow the current trend of providing a RESTful end point, others use older protocols such as RPC or SOAP, some use newer - push focused - endpoints like WebSockets or HTTP Streaming, others may offer a number of different endpoints to meet different requirements and some just use what seems to be best for a specific job which might mean not strictly following protocol rules. But is providing an endpoint to a service alone good enough? Should a developer really have to care about how a service is built or accessed when they can use a client library?
There are a number of ways of delivering data in real-time but until recently it has looked like PubSubHubbub, with the backing of Google, was going to be the preferred method. However, the past couple of weeks have seen a couple of interesting developments which could indicate that the developer community may actually prefer HTTP Streaming.
As phones get smarter and tablets become more ubiquitous, people need to access their content from more and more places. When files must constantly be transferred between multiple devices, however, the hassle of that process can easily outweigh the utility of being able to access your content anywhere. One solution is cloud storage - by having content stored online, there is no need to transfer files or make sure they are up to date. For cloud storage to be a truly effective solution, however, it must be integrated into all of the applications in which a user would want to access his content, which requires easy-to-implement, well documented APIs.
In a world where real-time data streams are becoming much more common, and with the volume of that data continuing to increase, it makes sense that a framework would be developed to increase the ease at which that data can be processed. Yahoo! S4 isn't the first such framework to be concieved, or even open sourced, but it is likely to massively increase awareness that such frameworks exist, what problems they may help solve and get developers thinking about how they could use the technology and potentially increase the likelihood of somebody moving S4-like capabilities into the cloud and offering it as as service.
Google App Engine, the PaaS offering from Google has a new release version 1.4.0 of its SDK, paying special attention to requests that developers have been putting it for a long time and removing limitations that received a wave of negative reactions. The new SDK addresses some of those concerns head on.
Organizations continue to grapple with making a choice between building their own data center or using a public cloud infrastructure. It sure helps to learn about successful case studies of mainstream companies making a successful move to the cloud. Netflix, with a popular Netflix API of its own, has turned to a cloud provider to scale many areas of the video streaming company's service.
The hackathon we are co-hosting at the Woodstock for Cloud Developers is only a week away. It's not too early to start thinking about the application you might build using partner APIs. And with Hackathon registration opening soon, you might also think about who to invite to join your team. Below you'll find some more information about hackathon guidelines and prizes, as well as a list of some of the eligible APIs you can use in your app.