It's all spinning wheels and self-doubt until the first pot of coffee.

Outsourcing creativity via APIs

Tim Faulkner at Valleywag: "I blame Twitter. It's not enough to be a website anymore. Oh no. You must be a platform. Have an API. Court developers. Build an "ecosystem." Whatever. You know what an application programming interface really is? An admission that you're too poor, cheap, or uncreative to build all the features your website needs."

Welcome to Web 2.0, Tim - we've been doing this thing for most of a decade or longer now. I know this is coming from Valleywag and fine-tuned as trollbait and all, but this just struck me as particularly dumb.

It's probably because most of my job right now is working on APIs and feeds for delicious, and I'm partial to the concept in general. Because, yeah, really: An API is an admission that you haven't the creativity or time to build everything your website needs. No one does. Anyone who doesn't make (or denies) that admission is either lying, clueless, or sadly mistaken. Anyone who starts with that admission and manages to open up to let users fill in their own gaps has a chance at hosting something really interesting.

And, yeah, thanks to the swooning hype over Facebook and others, it's a little over-exposed right now and tickling curmudgeonly snark-emitters. But, that doesn't mean the concept's a bad one or that it's going away.

Archived Comments

  • Obviously he is waxing nostalgic about the days when people screen scraped HTML rather than having a formal API. That, or he’s too naïve to realise that every web site is a service, by definition.