Today in APIs: Google's SDK for Health and Fitness

Google releases a preview SDK for health and fitness. The ABA holds a lawyers hackathon. Plus: successful API strategies require eating your own dog food, and why APIs need speed.

Google Launches SDK for Health and Fitness

Google Fit's SDK offers 3 important features for any app: the ability to store data from any wearable sensor, access data from any app, and the user's data migrates to new devices as the users upgrade. Four components make up Google Fit: the store for devices and apps, a sensor Framework, a set of permissions and controls and the Google Fit Android and REST APIs that manipulate the representations provided by the sensor framework.

Google Fit SDK

As Fred Lardinois reports in TechCrunch, there are limitations.

It’s worth noting that the SDK neither includes support for the promised REST API for web developers who want to use Fit data nor any specific APIs for Android Wear. To get started, developers will have to install a special version of the Android L Developer Preview on either a Nexus 5 phone or a second-generation Nexus 7 WiFi tablet. Google has always said that it wants to create an open ecosystem around Fit, so while the Preview SDK only works for a limited number of devices, the overall idea is to allow fitness apps to work with data from almost any wearable or sensor.

Google Fit's REST APIs are designed to work with any Platform, in contrast to the Android APIs that are specific to Android devices.

Hackcess to Justice Helps Create Wills, and Handle Other Legal Events

Last weekend the American Bar Association held a hackathon in conjunction with its annual meeting in Boston at Suffolk University. The focus was on creating apps that addressed problems identified by the Legal Services Corporation, from helping individuals assess their need for representation to document automation. As Victor Li writes in the ABA Journal, the top winner aimed at solving a problem that is mushrooming with our aging population but concerns everyone: the need for advance directives when an individual can no longer make their own decisions:

William Palin, a Somerville, MA attorney, won the $1,500 first prize for his iOS app, PaperHealth. The form automation app creates living wills and health care proxies for individuals and emails them to designated hospitals and health care providers. "Most people have no advanced plans for medical emergencies," said Palin, who was inspired to create this app after his brother had surgery and had to draft a health care proxy at the hospital. "I believe we can help bring down health care costs with simple preparation." Palin said he plans on releasing the app, which also features a frequently asked questions section and signature screens for signatories and witnesses, for free via Apple's App Store.

The $1,000 second prize went to Matthew Burnett, who created a Disastr app to help with legal representation for people affected by natural disasters. And a third prize went to a three person team of David Zvenyach, a general counsel in Washington, D.C.; David Colarusso, staff attorney for the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services; and William Li, a computer science PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They created "Due Processor" to help people assess their eligibility for indigent legal services in Massachusetts.

API News You Shouldn't Miss

Be sure to read the next Health article: Today in APIs: Apple Restricts Use of Healthkit APIs