API Embeddables In A Conversational Interface World
08 Feb 2017
I would say that embeddable tooling is one of saddest areas of the API space for me in recent years. When it comes to buttons, badges, widgets, and other embeddable goodies that put APIs work, the innovation has been extremely underwhelming. Login, like, share, and a handful of other embeddable tooling have taken hold, but there really isn't any sort of sophisticated approach to putting APIs to work using web, mobile, browser embeddables.
The only innovation I can think of recently is from Zapier with their Push by Zapier solution -- allowing you to orchestrate with the zaps you've creative, putting APIs to work using the variety of recipes they've cooked up. I'm thinking that I will have to step up my storytelling around what is possible with Push by Zapier, helping folks understand the possibilities. Push by Zapier is a Google Chrome extension, making it more browser than embeddable, but the approach transcends embeddable, browser, and even into the conversation (bot, voice, etc.) for me.
It's all about getting users frictionless access to API driven actions. Whether you are building Zapier pushes, Alexa Skills, or a Slackbot, you need to trigger, and daisy chain together API driven requests and responses ending in the desired location. I'm just looking for dead simple ways of doing all of this in my browser, embedded on web pages, and anywhere I desire. I'm just looking for a way to embed, link, and display the doorway to meaningful actions that anyone can implement, from wherever they want--where the action takes place is up to the API provider.
I want a vocabulary of simple and complex embeddables, either just HTML, some JS, and maybe a little CSS magic to round off. When I explain to someone in a Tweet or email explaining that they can publish a news article to a Google spreadsheet, I want my sentence to accomplish what I'm trying to articulate. I want to be able to speak in API--I want to be able to develop an IT operational outline and make it executable using the wealth of API resources available to me over at AWS. I want to be able to craft meaningful tasks, and easily share with others, replicated it for them, in their environment, using their credentials, without confusing the hell out of them.
Anyways, I am just ranting of this collision of these worlds as I am seeing unfold. I suspect the lack of innovation around embeddables is more about proprietary stances on APIs, and a platformification of things--meaning folks are investing in speaking in these ways via their channel, on their platforms, not an open web approach for everyone. I think Zapier has the strong lead in this area, with Slack, and Alexa trailing behind. The problem is that all the players are just to focused on their ow implementations, and not a wider web edition of their conversational interfaces. I'll rant in a future post about how this politics of API operations and closed views on API IP are stunting the growth in meaningful communication using API resources.