I was super happy to see my article from last week, on the crossover between UX and APIs, get such a good response (including tweets from Alan Cooper and Jared Spool). There were one or two tweets from people who were not fully familiar with the topic and wanted to learn and understand more about the space. Ask and you shall receive. Each article listed below is a bit different and will help you understand different nuances, possibilities and actual corporate strategy shifts driven by API design.
The one thread that is woven through all of them is this: APIs are a product just like any other. Well thought out content, experience and business strategies must now include APIs at the risk of your enterprise being left behind. Just because the engineers and the architects are the gateway to consumers doesn't mean they are not a product to be designed and managed from a corporate strategy perspective.
First off, take a look at this article on how data and features are being thought of and used as sydicatable content. The trend towards "platformification" was beginning to seriously accelerate at this point based on big successes at NPR and Netflix combined with vendor-based offerings from Apigee, Mashery and others.
Learn how APIs can directly impact your mobile strategy (while warding off Zuul the Destroyer) by driving towards a vision of context neutral data and functionality. When you push towards mobility of data, content and functionality rather than mobile, you get an enterprise poised to pounce on the next new channel and device (e.g., google glass, iWatch, smart TV apps).
Read about how companies are being motivated by business realities to move away from a data-protection stance over to a data-leverage stance. ESPN's public facing API helps demonstrate both the need and the possibility contained within the perspective of transforming barricades into toll-booths.
It was only a short while ago that Twitter started dropping bombs in the API space. This pivot in the marketplace demonstrated to everyone that APIs are not just about openness. API limitations are important not just for technology cost control, they are important for go-to market strategy, preserving defendable business differentiation, and ultimately monetization.
The trend of API brick throwing has become so commonplace, that walled gardens have begun to emerge around both Twitter and Apple. Strangely enough, the ones keeping their APIs open are the ones benefitting with higher levels of traffic. Hopefully, executives with a passion for history will help us all live in world with a free and open internet with an ever expanding mix of mash-ups and new offerings built on top of existing services and data.
My official predictions for 2012 regarding the expanding nature of companies collaborating with each other via API to bring new, exciting experiences for consumers. Not everything has come true, but I'm still holding out.
Several others in the industry spoke out about how they have also been writing and presenting on the topic and I have brought a few references together where you can get access to all the API goodness in one place. If I have missed any, please comment and add more sites, articles and communities to the mix:
- Jeremiah Cohick wrote a very detailed piece in UX magazine back in 2011 -- http://uxmag.com/articles/effective-developer-experience
- ProgrammableWeb has a full site devoted to cataloguing and writing about API news and events -- http://www.programmableweb.com/
- DeveloperExperience hosts a blog on Tumblr devoted to improving UX for developers -- http://developerexperience.org/
Vendor and Open Source Offerings:
I've come across a bunch of vendors whose offerings are bringing value to this space and have collected the ones I've come in contact with. Each one has differentiators and top-notch clients. Once again, if I have missed any, please comment and add more so everyone can easily navigate the space.
API managed service providers:
- Mashery - www.mashery.com
- Apigee - www.apigee.com
- 3scale - www.3scale.net
- Layer 7 Technologies - www.layer7tech.com
- WSO2 - wso2.com
Hope this helps continue to push the topics of APIs, Platformification and Developer Experience into ever expanding circles.
Image Courtesy of Rafal Olechowski (Shutterstock)