Should every business have an API?

No. Well, not yet. API’s allow data from one site to flow outside of it, be it through an app or a mashup with another Internet service. With a lot more companies sitting on huge piles of data, the idea of a business API enabling data flows to partners, employees and even consumers is catching on in business IT-land.

Last year we have seen a milestone when it comes to API’s. The site ProgrammableWeb has been tracking web APIs since 2005 and crossed the 5,000 API mark in its directory, covering everything from Twitter to government sites. From their statement:

Our API directory has hit another major milestone. We now list 5,000 APIs, just a short four months since passing 4,000. No longer is the web simply about links connecting one site to another. Instead, developers are using tools to connect data and functionality from one site to another site. It’s an incredible transformation that has happened over a very short period of time.

When a business owns a enormous database of data just sitting there, it’s weird that people should consume this line by line in a spreadsheet. By having an API, this data can be re-displayed and re-shared in new, and maybe better, ways.

I have embedded a video below called Containerization that should open up your eyes on business API’s, at least that is what it did for me. It compares the idea of API’s to the concept of containers that revolutionized shipping by sea and created new economic opportunities.

Check it out and share your thoughts on the idea of a business API or possible applications.

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