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Robots demanding equal API rights? It's just a matter of time

The Internet-O-Things gets API

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Blog Somewhere around the world right now as many as 1.2 million people are currently publishing APIs for external use - and that’s just us humans.

God help us when the self-aware robots and cyborgs get in on the act and start pushing API openness for their autonomic systems.

As tech-aware readers (and an increasingly high number of the lay variety) will already know, an API is defined as a "specific method" prescribed by a computer operating system or by a software application by which a programmer writing a program can make requests of the operating system itself or the services and/or content of another application.

Buy why stop at human programmers? In intergalactic terms, there are currently no accurate figures available for the number of cyborgs currently looking for published API representation among any of the channels represented by the W3C. Although this is an inevitable next stage development.

If it’s not cyborgs demanding equal API rights in the real world, then it could very conceivably be robotic drones, industrial turbines, automobiles and toasters.

These ‘devices’ (note: your toaster is now a device) should be able to plug downward into consumer level social media streams and upward into enterprise level performance monitoring solutions to fully inter-function.

Put simply, if it does stuff and you can turn it on, it needs an API to join planet Earth, as we know it today.

An Evans Data Developer Population Study reckons that of the 18.2 million software developers in the world, 1.2 million are now publishing APIs for external use. Evans has also said that this 18.2 figure is due to rise (by 45 per cent) to 26.4 million by 2019.

Regionally, those publishing external APIs without restrictions are fairly evenly spread between APAC, EMEA and North America, with a much smaller contingent in Latin America. Once again, no figures outside of the Western spiral arm of the galaxy were supplied.

The IoT API rationale

Janel Garvin is CEO of Evans Data and she expects the number of externally published APIs to “increase proportionately in relation to the [world] population” into the next three years.

Industry vendor spokespeople meanwhile have formed an ordered line behind a sign labeled: “Would you like my opinions on APIs with or without a mention of mobile devices and cloud?”

So in for penny, let’s hear from Phil Chambers, CTO of project management software company Podio.

“It’s no surprise that APIs are exploding in popularity, given the explosion in SaaS services and the need to get them to interoperate. When we launched almost four years ago, we took an API-first approach, meaning that every single piece of the platform was first available as an API, giving external developers exactly the same kind of capability to build things as we give our own developers,” said Chambers.

How we move on from here is not necessarily clear-cut, however rosy the ‘we do API-first’ strategists bleat on. There’s some heavy lifting to be done at the developer architecture end of the API spectrum, especially if we are to going to be able to turn websites in their entirety into API channels.

Should we be worried that API commentary is now becoming a spectator sport among the techo-literate glitterati? Does this mean we should hone our sceptical defences now? Will the cyborgs take over and has you toaster emailed you yet?

Let us know what you, or your fridge, think below. ®

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