Today in APIs: Amazon Costs, Facebook Photos and 11 New APIs

Is the Amazon EC2 API more expensive than self-hosting? A recent post suggests so and Amazon responded with numbers of its own. Facebook is going to increase the size of the photos returned by its Facebook Graph API. Plus: Open APIs are the new Open Source, Super 8 plus tenor sax equals what? And 11 new APIs.

Tabulating Amazon EC2 Expenses

GigaOm compared Amazon's cloud to rolling your own server cluster:

Amazon did its own run-down of the numbers and came to this conclusion:

We did our own calculations taking in to account only the first four issues listed above and came up with a monthly cost for AWS of $56,043 (vs. the $70,854 quoted in the article). Obviously each workload differs based on the nature of what resources are utilized most.

These analyses are always tricky to do and you always need to make apples-to-apples cost comparisons and the benefits associated with each approach. We're always happy to work with those wanting to get in to the details of these analyses; we continue to focus on lowering infrastructure costs and we're far from being done.

With that caveat, also consider this thorough comparison from 2010.

Facebook Photos Impending Embiggening

Among other Facebook API changes, the social network will soon be returning larger photos:

Returning up to 960px wide photos in "photo" FQL table and photo Graph API. On 1st March 2012 we will begin returning photos up to 960px wide in the src_big field of the photo FQL table, as well as the source field of the photo object, increasing the current max width of 720px.

For those doing the math, that's 33% more horizontal pixels for friends and glamour shots.

Typical Developer Weekend

"Broke out the Tenor Sax, watched Super 8, built a REST API"
--Bill Siggelkow

API News You Shouldn't Miss

11 New APIs

Today we had 11 new APIs added to our API directory including a customs duty and import tax calculation service, bioinformatics data reformatting service, probabilistic multiple alignment service, web-based postage service, cloud-based enterprise software, location-specific demographics data service, government agency search service, data mapping service, gardening social network, DNA microarray experiment minimal subset calculator, and a chatbot community. Below is more details on each of these new APIs.

DutyCalculatorDutyCalculator API: The service evaluates customs duties and other import taxes applicable to cross-border purchases, either as a standalone service or as a component of total price calculated in a checkout process. It is intended to help fully inform customers about the final cost of purchases to prevent surprises, maintain goodwill, and reduce return rates. It helps sellers to accurately classify products with correct HS codes and prevent penalties or problems from misclassification.

API methods support retrieval of country lists imported from or exported to, along with supported currencies and product categories. The API then provides duty rates by country and product and calculates the duty on a specified transaction.

EBI MViewEBI MView API: MView is a tool for re-formatting the results of a sequence database search or a multiple sequence alignment. It can also be used to add HTML markup to control results' coloring and layout on a webpage. MView is not a multiple sequence alignment program, nor is it a general purpose alignment editor. The EBI MView API provides access to MView's functions via SOAP and REST protocols.

EBI PRANKEBI PRANK API: PRANK is a probabilistic multiple alignment program for DNA, codon, and amino-acid sequences. It also allows users to define a potential structure for sequences to be aligned to and predicts the locations of structural units in the sequences.

The EBI PRANK API provides access to these functions via SOAP and REST protocols.

Endicia Label ServerEndicia Label Server API: Endicia Internet Postage provides technology solutions to the mailing industry. Solutions include Windows-based presort mail software, WYSIWYG mailpiece design software, internet address verification, internet move updating, internet postage with electronic delivery confirmation, and internet postage with international mail.

The Endicia Label Server API allows partners to embed web-based, on-demand U.S. Postal Services into their applications and websites so their customers can print Postal shipping labels from within their application. The system produces an integrated label image, complete with (stealth) postage, verified delivery/return addresses, and service barcodes (Delivery Confirmation, Signature Confirmation, Certified Mail, Express Mail, Confirm Services, or customs numbers). Full documentation is not publicly available.

Fabasoft FolioFabasoft Folio API: Fabasoft Folio Cloud is cloud based software that offers enterprises a number of business applications within a single cloud computing environment. Developers can use Folio Cloud as a platform on which to develop their own apps. APIs are available that let users access their business data using open standards such as WebDAV, CalDAV and CMIS.

CalDAV - Synchronize a calendar in Folio Cloud with a mobile device.

WebDAV - Synchronize content from Folio Cloud to a local computer and access documents by double-click.

Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) - Access data and Team Rooms in Folio Cloud.

These standards allow for functionality such as scheduling, data manipulation and content management. Public documentation is not available.

GeoData DemographicsGeoData Demographics API: The service helps marketers target customers by providing demographic data for a location specified by address or latitude and longitude. Geographic information about the location and lifestyle data about its inhabitants provide relevant input for marketing decisions. Other applications include matching login credentials to location to improve security and informing customers of nearby product dealers.

API methods support specification of a location by longitude and latitude or by ZIP code or specification of an IP address. The request can also specify filters for customer age groups and preference for output elements and format. Returned data include population breakdown by race, age, and household income category. Additional data about the location include business activity, terrain features, and crime statistics.

Granicus SearchGranicus Search API: Granicus supplies governing agencies with the software and hardware to integrate streaming media into their communications tool set. The Granicus Search API gives users search access to the Granicus library. With the API, users can query markers and videos from over 1,000 government agencies including over 2 million individual topics or discussions representing over 100 years of total archived video. The API uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in JSON.

Map Data Services QuickMapMap Data Services QuickMap API: The service works through a set of JavaScript APIs to provide data for interactive mapping applications. It allows definition of lines and polygons within a mapped region and placement of icons and markers. It also provides directions between locations and local features within a mapped region. The locate function provides map coordinates for a provided address or other location information.

API methods support definition of mapping points by latitude and longitude as well as icons or markers to place. The API returns data defining requested polylines or polygons for use in creating an interactive map. It can also return a driving route between specified locations or prominent features in the area defined by the map.

MyGardenMyGarden API: is a social platform for gardeners to share their gardens virtually with people. Members can follow other gardeners and share knowledge, look up detailed plant records, keep wish lists, save articles and more. The MyGarden API lets developers integrate the platform into their own web site or applications. Method categories exposed by the API include Activities, Badges, Comments, Plants and more. The API uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in XML and JSON.

OligoSelectionOligoSelection API: The OligoSelection API was created to help minimize the cost of DNA microarray experiments, which are used to determine the presence or absence of specific biological units in DNA. The API minimizes experimental cost by calculating the lowest possible number of probes that still allow researchers to obtain the explicit coding being sought. The OligoSelection API is made available via the SOAP protocol.

PandorabotsPandorabots API: Pandorabots is the largest chatbot community on the internet with over 160,000 registered bot masters having created more than 200,000 pandorabots ("chatbots") in multiple languages. Pandorabots appear on web pages, in instant messaging, and respond to email and forum posts. They can be found in Second Life, in online games, and in social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Increasingly pandorabots are turning up in mobile applications and texting. Pandorabots support marketing and advertising and are used in education.

Pandorabots has an XML-RPC API for connecting third-party software to the bot hosting service. The API can be used to conenct Pandorabots to many third-party applications, including Mified, mIRC, Second Life and Flash. Developers interested in more information can contact


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[...] Today in APIs: Amazon Costs, Facebook Photos and 11 New APIs WebDAV – Synchronize content Folio Cloud on a local computer and retrieve documents by double-clicking. Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) – Access to data and team rooms in Folio Cloud. These standards allow for functionality, such as … Read more on ProgrammableWeb (blog) [...]