Application: The Action of Putting Something Into Operation

I hate how technology dehumanizes things and went you bundle that with the current model for how things get funded, it tends to do this at scale, and with troubling efficiency. I'm the API Evangelist. I am not selling APIs as a technology solution, I am fighting to keep this sliver of our increasingly technical worlds open, and serving humans--otherwise I feel there is no hope for any of this to work with any kind of equity and compassion for the people it should be serving.

One of the reasons I blog is to help me refine the stories I tell in the API space, both virtually and in person. In an effort to make the API acronym more accessible to the masses, and also a reminder to the technorati that all of this is about doing meaningful things for the tech sector, I'm continuing to push my definition of API on the world. So, what does API stand for? Application Programming Interface. Historically application meant the web, and then in 2010 that started shifting to be more about mobile, and now it's being dominated by discussion about connecting other devices to the web, aka Internet of Things.

When I hear the word application, I think of the more non-technical definition of it: the action of putting something in operation. While this definition isn't perfect, it is better than simply thinking about web, mobile, and devices. It moves us closer to actually doing something useful, meaningful, functional, and actually serving humans. Sure, that operation could be in the service of systems and mechanisms that exploit and hurt people, but I feel like it gets us closer to having a conversation about why something is in operation, and not just simply about tech for tech's sake.