{"API Evangelist"}

Widget Builder Environment for APIs

There are many tools out there for working with Web APIs, but the one I am seeing used more and more is an API explorer. API explorers allow users to make calls and explore REST APIs using a Web interface -- all without writing code.

These API explorers are making it a lot easier for developers to discover, learn, and integrate with Web APIs. I also think they have a lot more potential, beyond the developer community.

Non-developers can use an API explorer to make calls against an API, retrieve JSON, and then use tools like Google Spreadsheets to process responses, building visualizations, and so on.

There is a huge opportunity for API explorer providers to tap into the larger, non-developer community, and one of the easiest ways to do this may be by adding a widget layer to their applications.

An API widget builder would have similar features to the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for APIs I proposed last week: Then I would add a new layer to the environment: With this type of environment, non-technical users could easily connect to APIs, mash-up responses and build widgets for embedding in their presentations, web sites, applications, and mobile devices.

There are a couple of widget building platforms out there like Sprout Inc or Widgetbox, but I'm picturing something more like WolframAlpha's widget builder. Take Apigee Console and add a widget builder like WolframAlpha's, and I think you'd have something close to what I'm envisioning.

I hope some existing API service provider or IDE developer sees the opportunities within the API space and builds a developer IDE and widget builder for APIs.