The Latest News On The API Economy
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The many developers who use the Twitter API have built thousands of creative applications that have certainly exceeded anything that Twitter's founders could have initially imagined when the API was released (for examples of some of these applications, check out our growing list of hundreds of mashups that use the Twitter API).
The New York Times' (NYT) list of web services includes some impressive APIs that make it easier to access and track information about a range of interests, including best selling books, real estate, people, articles, and the United States Government. The NY Times development team has been incorporating feedback from users in order to make changes and improvements on a regular basis. Most recently, NYT developers answered a request from users to add information about bills and speeches to its Congress API:
Yahoo has just released a major update to YQL, the Yahoo Query Language platform they first launched late last year as part of their Yahoo Open Strategy. YQL is a SQL-like programming interface to all Yahoo data that can also support non-Yahoo data as well (think of queries that look like: select id from flickr.photos.search where text='car'). This week's release adds a set of new features called Yahoo Execute which begin putting in place more pieces of a powerful cloud-based development platform.
Today at its latest Campfire One event, Google announced major updates to Google App Engine, their scalable cloud computing platform for web applications. App Engine developers will soon be able to create web-scale applications using standard Java APIs, and will be able to create AJAX components using Google's Web Toolkit. Other major features include cron support for scheduling tasks, tools for securely accessing and importing data, and a new Google development plugin for the Eclipse IDE.
One of the big debates these days when it comes to cloud computing center around portability and interoperatbilty between providers. That is, if you build an application on Amazon's EC2 or Google's AppEngine or Force.com, or store your data on Box.net or Amazon's S3, how hard is it to port your application or move your data to another cloud provider? If you develop on a given platform, how locked-in, or not, are you? And beyond that, could developers benefit from having standardized APIs to develop to without having to learn a new model and interface each time. As you'd expect, there's no easy answer to this.
The Amazon Web Services team has announced a new "Requester Pays" pricing model for their Simple Storage Service (S3). Amazon's S3 service, which provides scalable access to Amazon's online data storage infrastructure, enables customers to rapidly scale their platform using a cost effective pay-as-you-go model. Now, the new S3 Requester Pays Model gives S3 customers the built-in ability to charge their users for specific data transfers. Furthermore, Amazon takes care of the billing for the requested data, eliminating excess accounting overhead for the data providers. From their announcement:
Yieldex, the online ad inventory forecasting and optimization start-up, has won the second annual Amazon Web Services Start-Up Challenge. As grand prize winner, Yieldex receives US $50,000 in cash and $50,000 in AWS service credits, along with the possibility of an investment offer from Amazon. "Visibility Delivered" is Yieldex's motto; by winning perhaps the biggest web services start-up competition, they've certainly delivered visibility for themselves.
Earlier this week Amazon announced that a number of Oracle products are now available on Amazon Web Services (AWS). If you are not familiar with AWS, these are a set of pay-as-you-go services (such as virtual servers and data storage) that together form a computing platform “in the cloud."