Tech trends and business ideas

All things that motivate entrepreneurs

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Shedding P in API

I like the way SaaS is morphing into PaaS (Platform as a Service), and the trend of API releases that help third-parties create value around the core. We have now API of Facebook or that of CRM application. This is just smart as it further extends their reach and gives the ability for customers and partners to create more value. It may have its perils, but I still like it.

But what I don’t like about it is that, to use or exploit it, you need to be a programmer, the one that can write codes. Those bewildering jumble of letters, punctuations and ampersands give a more prosaic Joe nothing short of hell. For an entrepreneur that has some application in mind that could be useful to his business, has to depend on a developer that may or may not understand all that he needs or will end up building features he never would get to use. Or for that matter, the entrepreneur may not be eloquent enough to explain all his needs though he has figured it out mentally.

I feel progressively, API should lose the P and become just AI. Yes, why can't it just be Application Interface? Do we need the `Program' in the middle? Erase it. That's when you can call yourself user-friendly. Developers should enable non-programmer users, that form the bulk of customer base, to develop applications on their own. I recently found (beta) is almost there. I say `almost’ because its demo still voices words such as `bugs’, `tabs’, `objects’ etc., which have different literal meanings outside the developer community. Use words that mean exactly the same as man in the street understands or even demands.

Here’s where I found Rollbase hitting it on the head. Rollbase helps create a next-generation Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform and user-driven application ecosystem that enables business users to find, create, customize and share onDemand applications without programming. Rollbase has been designed from the ground up as a purely metadata-driven, multitenant, onDemand application development and delivery platform with a rich AJAX-based user experience and a unique underlying application execution, serialization and publishing model. But it needs to use simpler syntax in its demo, because it is addressed to a non-programmer audience - calling users to "roll your own business apps".....

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