Landing : Athabascau University

Lightweight APIs

Many successful social sites I have come across support some level of lightweight APIs for services and individuals to use in addition to their normal end users facing UI. Facebook (http://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/), using the Open Graph Protocol (http://developers.facebook.com/docs/opengraph/) and javascript to extend facebook functionalities to you, for instance, to incorporate a “Like” button to your personal html page. Groupon has its own set of RESTFul APIs that supports Daily Deals query and integration of the “Deal” button to any website or applications (http://groups.google.com/group/grouponapi/topics?hl=en). Any deals that came through from the registered developer will receive a sale commission. LinkedIn has a set of Javascript based and RESTFul APIs for accessing profile and connection data for business applications (https://developer.linkedin.com/documents/connections-api). Twitter (https://dev.twitter.com/) allows querying of tweets from around the globe along with geo-coordinates of tweet’s origin which I believe is how part of the Crisis Mapping data came from for the recent Japan Earthquake (http://blog.ushahidi.com/index.php/2011/04/20/crisis-mapping-japan/).

This is in tune with our Week 4 Mashup theme – part of the web 2.0 paradigm shift (http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=4).  For that I discussed (https://landing.athabascau.ca/pg/bookmarks/read/70920/week-4-silverlight-based-mashup-application) in depth of using various social site lightweight APIs to create the mashup app.

I think it is quite evident that exposing a social site functions through a set of lightweight APIs is part of the core requirements to reach critical mass. At the minimum, it serves as a promotional materials as a way to reach out the larger audiences. Or at a larger scale such as the case of Twitter and Facebook. lightweight APIs help to integrate the service itself into every part of the web increase the overall value of the website/service.

Dickson

 

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