Posted on 03-19-2013
Has anyone written about APIs as art objects?— blprnt (@blprnt) March 18, 2013
(We make APIs for almost every art project we build - in some ways the APIs themselves are the most interesting/poetic parts)— blprnt (@blprnt) March 18, 2013
It feels to me the API could become a medium for artists in the same way that the algorists embraced the algorithm in the 70s.— blprnt (@blprnt) March 18, 2013
The APIists. You heard it here first.— blprnt (@blprnt) March 18, 2013
The API's ability to bridge platforms/devices/languages is almost inherently interventionist.— blprnt (@blprnt) March 18, 2013
What a fascinating thought. It is so close to how I see APIs in my minds eye. A single API design can hold so much beauty, information, expression and emotion. Imagine if you hung the API design for each iteration of the Twitter API on a wall. There is so much to interpret. It expresses the vision of Twitter founders and employees, it is in direct response to a million developers and the needs of 500 million users around the globe. What an impression!!!
While JSON might be the only way we have to visually describe an API, each web, mobile app and data visualization could also be considered an artistic representation of the Twitter API. You could fill an entire gallery with JSON representations of each endpoint and each of its versions, applications, and visualizations. Creating interactive art exhibition of the Twitter ecosystem.
I remember back in 8th grade(1984) I was in my social studies class with Ms. Schuler. She brought in some fractal prints, she said were created by her mathematician boyfriend. She walked us through how each visual was actually a math problem. This was the same year my math teacher Mr. Hathaway got around 20 Commodore Vic 20s, which he didn’t know how to setup and run, so a handful of us stayed after school and helped setup the lab. At this point in my education I hated math, and without seeing the beauty of the fractal, I may never have developed a passion (obsession) for computing. My counselors told me I’d never have a career in computers, because I was so poor at math. Ha! Eat it middle school counselors!
Jer Thorp’s tweets really resonate with me. APIs are a technical, business and political representation that can interpreted in so many different ways. When I read a swagger definition of an API, images begin to form in my mind around the intent of the APIs author (think girl in red dress from the Matrix).
Sometimes an API will invoke kindergarten images in my mind telling me the designer didn’t have the experience it took to represent their information and resources properly. Other times they invoke very precise images, almost too precise, alerting me to the fact this API was designed by another application and not a human.
On a very rare ocasion I will see an API design that you can tell was hand crafted, with the love and care of a individual or group of individuals who considered the needs of many end users, developers, and other consumers. After several iterations an artful API representation will also begin to bear the technical, business and political imprints of its time. Much like a painting will have certain styles, approaches, shapes, sizes, colors and materials going into the ink and canvas, or maybe markings of war, its owners or poor care.
In my opinion APs are a very artful representation of sometimes very complex data or programmatic resources, that have the possibility to evoke very emotional responses from the developers that build on them or the from the end-users who are the intended audience.
Thanks for planting this seed in my head Jer. It is a topic I will visit often, as I’m no doubt going to stumble across patterns and approaches that are more art than tech, as I’m navigating this amazing API driven world I'm obsessed with.
And remember you heard it from Jer Thorp (@blprnt) first!
comments powered by Disqus
Winning in the API Economy
|Download as PDF|
Latest Blog Posts
- Thank You For Your API Evangelist Blog(s)
- Video From The Hypermedia Panel At API-Craft In Detroit Last Month
- Please Open Source Your API Before Shutting It Down
- Explaining My Work Around APIs In Higher Education To Institutions
- You Can Have An API Just By Choosing Products And Services That Have APIs
- Using Excel As An API Datasource And An API Client For The Masses
- Brewing Up Something Awesome With The Jive Software API
- Relationship Between APIs And Containers
- Real-time and Visualizations Will Be Key in Financial API Deployments
- Notification Focused Startups Within Leading API Ecosystems
- APIs That Do One Thing And Do It Well Like ZipLocate
- Which API Do I Need?
- The Expanding API Conference Landscape
- Ocotoparts Open Source Google Spreadsheet
- Andrew Nacin Of WordPress @APIStrat Chicago
- Push Button API Deployment With The Heroku Button
- WordPress Style API Modules For Government
- The Heroku HTTP API Design Guide
- What I Have Been Calling API Trends, Are Slowly Being Baked Into API Operations
- FDA Finding Their API Mojo With A New Drug Label API
- Adding PokitDok To Healthcare Research And The API Stack (Well They Did)
- Why I Am Continuing To Integrate Zapier In My Business Workflow
- Who Is Going To Build The Uber API Platform For The Sharing Economy?
- The API Focused Dev Shop
- Route SMS Messages To Google Spreadsheets Via Twilio API With TwilioSheet