The Latest News On The API Economy
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Crawling webpages isn't something most of us are set up to do. That's why 80legs turned it into a service, spidering two billion web pages per day.
Cloud computing is big right now, but the sheer number of options, and the lack of interoperability, can be an issue for developers. There are a number of projects that can reduce, or even eliminate, some of these problems by exposing the functionality of a number of cloud service providers through a consistent interface. Here is a list of 7 such projects.
With the recent explosion of cloud computing services, developers now have more opportunities than ever to take advantage of enterprise-scale computing platforms. However, most cloud computing services, such as Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), have unique and incompatible APIs. This has provided a challenge for organizations wanting to develop in-house applications that can later be seamlessly deployed directly to Amazon's service when necessary. For example, Ubuntu Server, a Linux-based operating system supported by Europe's Canonical Ltd, is the most widely deployed operating system on EC2, yet there has been no way for developers to create private, EC2-compatible cloud computing systems internally with Ubuntu.
What could you do if you were spidering two billion web pages per day? Whatever your answer is to that hypothetical, you might as well do it now. The 80legs platform lets you write your own web crawler and sell your apps to users (our 80legs API profile). And if you can build it fast, there's an 80legs contest looking for your entry.
There's a new Amazon acronym to learn. RDS stands for Relational Database Service and it is the newest addition to Amazon's suite of web services. Unlike previous data services from Amazon such as SimpleDB, RDS is relational (our profiles for the SimpleDB API and new RDS API). In fact, it's a MySQL 5.1 instance but the main difference is that it is hosted on a virtual server instance in Amazon's data center. And it can expand and contract as needed, programmatically. Like the Amazon APIs before it, RDS was built to provide developers access to Amazon's infrastructure, with pay-as-you-go pricing based on your usage.
Intuit has announced the release of several new resources for developers to integrate desktop applications with web-based applications. The new Intuit App Center allows QuickBooks users to access third party web applications developed with the Intuit Partner Platform. This move effectively bridges Intuit's suite of desktop accounting software with applications that run in the cloud.
SaaS and cloud services provider LiveOps has just announced the release of a new "cloudsourcing" API for its LiveWork service. The Open Workforce API (OWAPI) enables businesses to integrate applications with an on-demand virtual workforce provided by LiveWork (more at our Open Workforce API Profile).
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."