Posted on 06-30-2014
Spreadsheet are the most used datastore in business. When Google came out with their web-based spreadsheet, it was a game changer (for those who have access), when it came to managing, collaborating and sharing small data sets.
When it comes to data management, not all of us live in the world of big data, and spreadsheets are a quick and dirty data store that gets the job done. As the web was maturing, Google saw an opportunity, and launched the labs version of Google Spreadsheets in mid 2006, bringing spreadsheets into the web 2.0 era of the Internet. In 2014, the next step, in the evolution of the spreadsheet, is to be able to plug spreadsheets directly into the API economy, allowing spreadsheet data stewards to make their valuable content and data available to web, mobile and Internet of things (Iot) developers via simple web APIs.
Google Spreadsheets allows for accessing data via a JSON feed natively, and I wrote about adding an API, plus management layer on top of a public or private Google Spreadsheet, but there is also an instant, cloud-based approach to deploying an API from Google Spreadsheet, using APISpark. Restlet has taken their open source REST framework, launched it as a service, and opened up the possibility for anyone to deploy an API, from an existing Google Spreadsheet—no coding necessary.
APISpark has provided both the API deployment, plus API management layer, spreadsheet owners will need. This is an important evolution in the API economy, because it allows people who are actually managing vital data to securely expose it, for use in applications, without needing any developer or IT resources. This will bring data stewards closer to the actual people who need their data, whether it be internally between systems or business units, externally with partners, or even publicly for anyone looking to use a dataset on a website or application.
A lot can be lost in translation, when a dataset has to go through IT, or developers before it can be made available as an API, not to mention the cost savings in being able to cut out the middleman. If we can equip any small business, enterprise, non-profit, or government data steward, who spends their day managing content and data in spreadsheets, with the ability to securely expose, and easily manage APIs from those data sources—imagine the fuel that will be fed to the API economy.
I am working on other walk-throughs, demonstrating how to expose datasets managed in Google Spreadsheets, as APIs, using APISpark. When I get up, I will publish here on API Evangelist, as well as on my API Deployment research site, for folks to learn from.
Disclosure: Restlet is an API Evangelist partner
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