Are Device Based APIs Where It Is At?

Just exactly what an API is, is always up for debate. APIs have been around since before the Internet. API Evangelist focuses in on what I call web APIs, that were built using the same technology as websites, and were made even popular for delivering valuable data and resources to mobile phones. While there are device APIs on phones, that give you access to resources like the camera or microphone, web APIs are the choice of developers when it comes to delivering popular cloud based resources like friends, photos and video to mobile apps.

Web APIs, are using the Internet to deliver common resources that websites, web and mobile apps need to operate. With the dominance of mobile devices, and the emergence of the Internet of things, we are now seeing APIs that move beyond just this general approach, and focusing on delivering resources tailored to specific devices, or device groups.

As I do with everything, I’m just shedding more light on what is already happening out there. Daniel Jacobson of Netflix has been talking about Why REST Keeps Me Up At Night, and how Netflix is catering to hundreds of devices for some time now.

So, getting to my point, I was reading two separate articles about new Google APIs:

In both of these new APIs, Google is developing APIs that cater specifically to Android devices. Google has radically different motivations for delivering device based APIs than Netflix, but I think their focus on the device is still a relevant aspect of this trend in API design. General purpose APIs are common, but is Daniel right about where we are going with APIs?

Will we continue to see APIs tailored for specific devices? What will happen with the Internet of Things? Will there be APIs that are tailored for home automation devices or just our cars? There are a lot of important API design questions to be asked in 2014. I’ll keep my eye out for some of the answers as I track on the world of APIs.