Exposing The Meaningful Skills Our APIs Possess For Use In The Next Gen Messaging And Voice Apps

As I'm working through my morning work monitoring the API space, I'm proccesing stories about the availability of valuable resources, like the House Rules Committee data being released in XML formats, and ExoMol, the molecular line lists DB used in simulation of atmospheric models of exoplanets, brown dwarfs & cool stars

I feel fortunate to live in a time where the world is opening up such valuable resources, making them available online--available for anyone to use, remix, improve, and make better. My faith in APIs doesn't come from any single API, it comes from the possibilities that will exist when individuals, companies, organizations, institutions, and government agencies all publish valuable resources using APIs.

While there is still a lot of work ahead, I'm seeing the early signs of this reality emerging across my API monitoring in 2016. I'm coming across so many, extremely valuable, openly licensed, machine readable resources that can be used in some very interesting ways. The trick now, is how do we expose the most meaningful parts of these resources, and make sure they get found by the people who will actually put them to use. As the number of APIs increase, this is something that is going to get harder and harder, and the need for value even more critical.

Another dimension to this discussion is the growing number of channels we need to make our API resources available in. Web and mobile are still king when it comes to consuming APIs, but quickly devices, messaging, voice, bots, and other channels are growing in use. The next wave of API evangelism is going to require that the right people (domain experts) are available to help expose the most meaningful skills that our APIs posses, via these growing number of quick moving channels.

An example of this in action, using one of the valuable resources above, could involve making the Congressional activity that is most relevant and important to me, available in my Slack channel (or messaging app of choice), or even available via my Amazon Echo, using Alexa Voice Skills. How do we start carving out meaningful skills from government, and other open data, using simple APIs? How do we use these to educate individuals, either as an average citizen, or maybe in a professional or commercial scenario.

We have many, many years ahead of us, helping individuals, companies, institutions, and government understand why they need to be exposing valuable data, content, and other digital resources via simple web APIs. However, alongside these efforts, we are going to need armies of other individuals who have the ability to identify valuable resources, and help craft simple, usable, and meaningful endpoints, that can be added as skills within the web, mobile, device, messaging, bot, and voice apps of the future.