Using Forms As An Introduction To World Of APIs For Normals
13 Apr 2016
I am working to identify the low hanging fruit for deploying APIs at Davidson College. It is a process where I target the domain, at the request of someone on campus, then slowly spider the website over a couple week period, and identify CSV, XML, XLS, and JSON files, as well as any tables with over five rows--now I"m also tracking on the presence of any HTML form.
At the same time I'm talking with Form.io about some of their case studies and client implementations, working to better understand how their form-centric API solution is making an impact with small business owners. Form.io lets anyone built forms, which then does all the heavy lifting of deploying an API that drives each of the form implemented. I am finding it very valuable to hear about the inroads they are making with businesses, as an API solution, because they speak using "forms"--a language that the average business user often understands.
When it comes to APIs, not everyone has a ready to go implementation in mind for how an API can be used to publish data and content to a website or mobile app, but a greater number of people will understand the need to fill out a form, and have it publish to a central place. I am feeling like this opens up an opportunity to educate the normals about APIs, when it is done in the service of form submissions, eliminating PDF, or even the printed form.
I am adding forms to my list of how I identify low hanging fruit for APIs. I will be tracking on the forms that companies, organizations, institutions, and government agencies have on their site, and using as one potential opportunity for some API literacy. I'll also think about other ways that I can use the concept of a form, to help normals understand the possibilities with APIs -- I just wanted to kick off this exploration, as I see forms overlap in my world in my low hanging fruit work at Davidson, and conversations with Form.io.