Going Beyond Excel As A Data Source For API Deployment And Focusing On It As An API Client
13 Mar 2015
I've said it before, and I will say it again — Excel and spreadsheets will continue to be super critical for the growth of the API industry. There are an increasing number of solutions like APISpark for deploying and managing APIs using spreadsheets, something that will get easier over time, but so far I'm not seeing equal acknowledgment of the potential of Microsoft Excel as an API client.
The majority of the world's data is locked up in spreadsheets, and CSV files. Something I learned during my short time in Washington DC, is that the API community is going to have to court the legions of data stewards who spend their days in spreadsheets at the companies, and government agencies around the world, if we are going to be successful. The tooling for deploying APIs from spreadsheets has emerged, but we have a lot of work ahead to make them simpler and easier to use.
With the majority of the worlds data locked up in spreadsheets, this also means many of the business decision makers have their head in the spreadsheet on a daily basis, depending on the data, calculations, and visualizations that influence their daily decision-making. I’m seeing only light efforts around delivering API driven services in the spreadsheet, something that is going to have to grow significantly before the API industry can reach the scale we would like.
I know that the spreadsheet does not excite API providers, and API integrators, but they are a comfortable tool for many of the business ranks, and if we are going to get them to buy into API economy, and play nicely, we are going to have to accommodate their world. When thinking of spreadsheets and APIs, don't just think delivering content and data to APIs, but also how APIs can deliver vital content and data back to spreadsheets users—acknowledging the ubiquitous tool can provide huge benefits as an API client, as well as data source.