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API driven analytics and visualizations is one of the new areas of API usage I'm tracking on. There are many “big data” platforms emerging these days, but I’m looking for dead simple tools and services anyone can use to generate analytics and visualizations via APIs.

Think of reciprocity providers like IFTT, Zapier and Elastic.io. These new API driven service providers, make it easy to migrate data between cloud services, using a simple set of source API, triggers, actions and target APIs--with a dead simple icon and wizard based UI, allowing any user to put the platform to work.

I want this approach for embeddable analytics, visualizations and other widgets that are easily generated via APIs. Last week I came across a new platform called Ducksboard, which allows you to easily generate some pretty sophisticated analytical widgets from common API sources. The platform even comes with a marketplace where you can find other widgets. The only problem is that Duckboards is meant to generate dashboards, and not really open and portable widgets.  We'll keep an eye on this platform, see where it goes.

Then last night I came across Keen IO, an analytics Backend as a Service (BaaS) platform that lets developers build analytics features directly into their apps, from common API services. Keen IO provides a pretty sophisticated workbench for building embeddable charts, metrics and other analytics or visualizations that you can render anywhere, using iOS, Android, JavaScript, Ruby, Python and Java libraries they provide.

At first glance, this space can feel just like earlier waves of widget building platforms of the Web 1.0 & 2.0 worlds. But I think we hadn’t reached critical mass, in the number of available API resources, as well as an awareness of APIs in general, in order to realize the true potential of widgets. I think we are getting closer in 2013.

I’m optistic that a new breed of API driven analytics and visualization tools will emerge making dead simple, icon based interfaces that allow anyone to generate useful widgets from valuable API resources and embed them anywhere on the open web or in private portals.

Are there any other similar platforms that I'm missing?




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