Posted on 07-18-2012
Web APIs come in all shapes and sizes. The differences between API authentication, interfaces and data types can be a big challenge when developers work with multiple social networking APIs like Twitter, Facebook and social media APIs like Instagram and Flickr.
Each API tends to run with their own interpretation of what a RESTful API means, leaving developers left with navigating not only the differences between various APIs, but the changes a single API will make from version to version.
Many industry pundits claim this will become unmanageable. I think its the nature of the web API space, and we should leave API owners to do what they do best, rather than forcing them to agree on standards. Then how will we bridge these difference? This is an important opportunity for providers to step in and aggregate critical APIs within specific sectors, and provide a unified interface that developers can depend on. One example of this in action is Singly.
Singly aggregates some of the most important social APIs, simplifying authentication, creating consistent patterns for API endpoints and a unified set of data types to work with across all supported APIs. Singly pays attention to the differences between APIs and versions, so developers can do what they do best--build social applications, using social data from the platforms their users are already on.
Immediately the pundits will ask, how can they keep up with all the changes? I respond with how can we not move this industry forward without someone paying attention to it for developers. I see Singly as a necessary component for the API industry to stabilize and move forward. Developers needing to integrate with a single API can visit the API directly, while developers who need to integrate across multiple APIs can depend on Singly.
I see opportunities for the Singly model to be applied in other niche areas like location based services, video, restaurants and government to just name a few fast growing API business sectors. It’s clear that RESTafarians aren’t going to come to an agreement on a single stand, and API owners are busy providing the data and resources they specialize in, so a unified approach like Singly appears to be a healthy path forward for standardizing APIs, creating a more stable interfac for developers.
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