Integrating multiple apps & services
Thursday, October 4, 2007 by Dave Winer.
Fred Wilson: "When will people start building apps/services that sit on top of multiple APIs?"
It's a good question, and the answer is -- we're already doing it. The services are now so reliable and flexible that you almost forget how complex the systems are.
Let's look at a Twittergram scenario:
1. Chris registers with the Twittergram site. That's App #1.
2. She takes out her iPhone and opens the phone app. That's App #2. (Yes, the mobile device is also a computer, it's running an app, with an interface, it can dial a number and transmit audio. It's old fashioned, but it works great.)
2. She calls BlogTalkRadio, 646-716-6000. That's app #3. Records a 30-second message.
3. She hangs up. BlogTalkRadio calls the Twittergram app. App #1, again.
4. Twittergram calls Amazon S3 to store the MP3. App #4.
5. Twittergram calls TInyUrl to create a short URL for the MP3. That's App #5.
5. Twittergram calls Twitter. That's App #6.
So there's a simple application that uses six different apps/services.
Another example, the Flickr-to-Twitter integration, also part of Twittergram.
1. Randy registers with the Twittergram site. That's app #1.
2. He goes to the park, sees a beautiful flower. Takes a picture with his iPhone. That's app #2.
3. He mails the picture to Flickr. That's app #3.
4. Twittergram is monitoring Randy's RSS 2.0 feed on Flickr. Some people might say this is another app, but let's be conservative. App #3, again.
5. It notices a new picture, grabs the URL, calls TinyUrl. That's App #4.
6. Grabs the title of the picture, appends the TInyUrl, sends it to Twitter. That's App #5.
Another app that uses five different apps/services.
We've been doing this stuff for a long time, all the way back to 1998, when XML-RPC first came online. It's always been about delivering functionality, quietly and reliably, to users.