Fun with APIs
I should probably be blogging about professional uses of our APIs or something serious, but instead decided to write about having fun with APIs. We recently had a hackathon in Seattle where a couple of teams had a lot of fun. One team did a rap for their app pitch (I don’t think they’ll get a record deal, but it was highly entertaining) and another did a sketch. More than this is what developers are doing with APIs.
I think there has always been an affinity between developers and robots or gadgets. Sphero has been to a few of our hackathons. For any who may not know them, they have this robotic ball that you can control and they offer devs the chance to use their own apps or use alternate control mechanisms (e.g., our speech API). Sphero is clearly onto something here. This is a good way to make development fun and more attractive to students and I expect to see many more such platforms coming in the future.
LEGO is another company active in this space. They are going way beyond just the blocks I had when I was a kid. I was impressed recently with a project from one of our internal architects with a “Lagrangian Drifter” buoy (which are used to make observations on currents, temperature, winds, etc.). The data acquisition system they used was written in National Instruments LabVIEW “G” programming language accessing the OAuth and SMS V2 developer.att.com APIs. The buoy system is using a prototype 3G/GPS sensor with LEGO Mindstorm computer and sensors. It is almost limitless what devs might be able to do in the future—and great that kids are growing up thinking about those possibilities.
Other fun with APIs comes from ProgrammableWeb and GreenGoose. ProgrammableWeb is the source of many cool API mashups that developers have created (e.g. fishing spot mashup with Google Maps). With GreenGoose you place small sensors on items and can track a variety of behaviors and even tasks. An example they give is that it could remind you to feed your dog. We are clearly getting closer to a winner for the Schmit most fun with APIs prize – which will go to the first person who uses APIs from AT&T’s platform to build a device that lets me fly my two dogs outside for walks around the neighborhood and frequent bio-breaks.
Are there any fun APIs AT&T should create? Comment below and share your suggestions.