I used to be a very enthusiastic LEGO builder when I was young(er). Together with my dad, we would try to hide treasures in the LEGO buildings we created. We would build hidden floors, trap doors and double walls.
With LEGO, you can build anything you like and all just with these rectangle pieces. I really like the quote of Vitorino Ramos –
“People should learn how to play Lego with their minds. Concepts are building bricks”
APIs are the web developers LEGO.
The best thing this century has brought us Internet professionals so far, I think, are (open) Application Programming Interfaces (API).
I’m not going to explain APIs from a technical view, but just why I love APIs.
API enable developers to use external content or functionality.
The API basically lets you do everything that you can do in the online user interface of a site or service, but do it with your own software. This means you can built things on top of other features, databases and tools, like you can with LEGO. The best examples of open APIs are Facebook and Twitter, my personal favourite. What both of them did is opening up their platforms. By doing so they’ve let other developers take benefit from the features, content and contextual layers of information of the platforms. This brought creativity in and took down the walled garden structures. I’m really exited about Google trying to do the same thing with the Android platform.
Anyways, it has been really inspiring for me. You can see that if you look at the projects I’m involved in.
All my projects use APIs:
Toading has developed several APIs to connect external product and statistics data of our corporate clients to the Toading applications and uses the Google Adwords and Yahoo! Search Marketing APIs to automatically sync the online ads whenever a specification of the online offering of our clients change.
Mobypicture has developed an open API to get and put content from other sites, services and applications. And of course Moby uses many external APIs to post all the users adventures realtime to their social sites and services (Twitter API, Flickr API, WordPress API, Tumblr API, Blogger API, Jaiku API, MTV API and many more)
Startpix has developed two APIs, one of which we will release for the world very soon and it uses the Twitter and Facebook APIs to share links to your online friends instantly.
Spot2.be one of my new projects, which lets you share your favourite locations easily, will be launched at the Android Dev Camp Amsterdam on Thursday the 8th of January. It also uses the Google Maps API of course, the Twitter and Facebook API for sharing spots and many different navigation systems APIs (TomTom, Garmin, Pioneer etc.)
Favi.co.nz is a pure API we’re also beta launching this week at the Dev Camp. Developers can use it to retrieve favicons of any website. This can be very useful for social communities, mobile websites and applications.
I really love both domain names BTW, don’t you?