But the two then went on to talk about the general external consumption of APIs - mashups, as we've come to love to call them. There are several popular concerns about using mashups:
- they are not for commercial use [not so, say Willison and Hammond - many APIs are open for commercial use]
- they tie you in to one provider [not so, the early movers get to define the interface which others then follow. You can switch between Google maps and Yahoo! maps almost by just changing the name]
- you are vulnerable when the API changes [no more so that when Microsoft patches its commercial software. And the major providers do give notice because of the pressures of point 2 above - this is my view, not one expressed at the conference]
The other really interesting thing to come out of the conference was a lively discussion on microformats. Strikes me that by implemented RSS everywhere and microformats on data such as calendar events and people's names, you could almost build a set of internal APIs which make rapid, flexible publishing a dream.