The API Fabric for the Next Generation of Apps
13 Nov 2012
I’m always on the hunt for meaningful API analogies, to stock my evangelism toolbox. Ways that I can relate the potential of APIs, in a way that anyone can understand, even non-developers.
In my opinion, the success of the web API movement lies in the ability to extend, potentially complex resources in a very simplistic and universal way. So, as an evangelism I have to abstract away the complexities and make sure I connect with my audience.
As I’m tracking on the API space and working to quantify the potential future of APIs, I’m struggling to find meaningful analogies to articulate where API driven platforms like Singly are moving the industry. But just as with the technology, leave it to the Singly team to do this for me.
Singly made a slight shift in their branding recently, using the words API Fabric in the description of what they do. This seems like a slight change, but it truly is an exceptional way to describe the Singly approach to app development using social authentication and data.
At first glance, to a non technical person, fabric may be defined as:
fab·ric/Ëfabrik/ Noun: Cloth, typically produced by weaving or knitting textile fibers
With synonyms being cloth, material, structure, textile, texture and web. Using this definition of fabric as the source for my analogy can work by itself. It can help a non-technical person understand what is possible when you can quickly begin weave together apps using different APIs--visualizing some sort of woven textile, with unique meaning. Immediately helping anyone, visually relate to the potential when developing on top of social and personal APIs.
If you are more technical, the term “fabric” might help you understand Singly at another level. In information technology, fabric is a synonym for the words framework or platform. In general, the term fabric can describe the way different parts of something work together to form a single entity. Fabric can be used as a metaphor to illustrate the idea that if someone were to document computer components and their relationships on paper, the lines would weave back and forth so densely that the diagram would resemble a woven piece of cloth.
Bringing us back full circle to the visualization potentially related to non-developers. The word fabric has deep meaning through our personal worlds, it might be your favorite jeans, blanket the uniform you wear to work every day. APIs are fast being woven into every aspect of our lives, and the term “fabric” is an excellent way to relate what API providers like Singly are doing with specific groups of APIs, like personal and social data APIs.
Our sometimes very personal data and sometimes very public social data is fast becoming fabric of our daily personal and work worlds on the Internet and our mobile devices. We are going to need to provide ways of assuring developers can build the most powerful, meaningful apps possible--by weaving together the best of breed data and resources into a strong API fabric!
Disclosure: Singly is a partner of API Evangelist