A Mashable Web Services API is Sticky, Contagious, and Attention-grabbingAugust 3, 2007 at 9:31 am | Posted in Composite Applications, Enterprise 2.0, Mashups, portals, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment
I’m hoping that my recent postings on mashups (see here and here) have served to point out that 1) mashups are easier to define as an attitude and “feel” than a strict technological definition and 2) that mashups are not something new, although the attention to the quick&easy end of the composite application development scale is a good thing
I’d like to now add a #3 to that list: 3) that a killer web services API is sticky, contagious, and gets the creator/hoster a lot of good attention.
See this example from the EMC Documentum 6 enterprise content management platform. I had a few conversations with Documentum about the importance of web services APIs and what kinds of things and level of granularity they should operate at. Those conversations may have had a positive effect because Documentum subsequently released their first set of web services APIs, which I thought fit the mold of what customers were looking for. With version 6 they have pushed this further and added a development tool:
— Documentum Enterprise Content Services: a new, Web Services-based API that simplifies development and integration with ready-to-use enterprise content services for easy integration with other enterprise applications within a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). EMC’s new services interface was redesigned to eliminate Documentum specific methods and terminology and replace it with a vendor-neutral framework for working with content management functionality. These services enable developers with no Documentum experience to build ECM applications quickly and easily. This open, generic approach eliminates the “knowledge barriers” that get in the way of incorporating ECM functionality in all enterprise applications and business processes that deal with content
— Documentum Composer: provides a standardized environment for development and configuration tools that reduce the need for coding and facilitates composition of applications with reusable elements
I’m hoping that as vendors realize how powerful Google Maps has become in part because of the great API that has encouraged thousands of websites to create mashups that depend on it, they will also want to provide “mashable” APIs. “We want to be the Google Maps API of the xxx industry” is shorthand for saying that a vendor (or enterprise with B2B channels) wants to make available a mashable web service that is:
- Sticky: Once a website incorporates a web services API it is unlikely to remove it for quite a long time.
- Contagious: Every website incorporating the API acts as an ambassador to visitors that get ideas about how it could be used in their website. To quote an obnoxious 70’s shampoo commercial “And they’ll tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on …”
- Good attention: When the UI being integrated is branded or the source somehow easily recognizable, it acts as an advertisement for the infrastructure underneath.