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One interesting theme I heard at API Days San Francisco last week, was the concept of API reciprocity, or If This Then That(IFTTT) moving into more niche areas. This edition of API Days was focused on "Disrupting the Car Industry and Driver Experience with APIs”, and I heard several times, people saying, “Its If This Then That for cars”.

After If This Then That put an iconographic face on the classic practice of Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL), and focused on not traditional database and IT system, but API driven software as a service (SaaS), I saw over 30 other providers follow in their footsteps. It is my mission to understand how these companies are evolving the ETL world, and write about it across the API Evangelist network.

In 2014, I think the concept has reached a maturity point, where reciprocity and interoperability between API driven platforms is being applied to niche areas. With the popularity of IFTTT and Zapier, in helping tech savvy users understand how they can take control over how data and content flow in our increasingly digital worlds, it makes total sense that startups would look to apply this successful pattern to niche areas like the automobile experience.

While Zapier, IFTTT and many other reciprocity providers are providing general purpose recipes for keeping your online world in sync, there is a growing number of focused providers, like SortMyInbox for email, Puppet Labs for cloud computing, and RoadRules.io which was present at API Days in San Francisco.

I think this new breed of API focused ETL startups, delivering niche recipes of automation, interoperability and reciprocity in our digital worlds, will continue to expand. You will hear more startup pitches, where the founder says, “Its like If This Then That for X”.




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