Yahoo Technical Evangelist Christian Heilmann gave a talk at The Ajax Experience 2009 conference on using and offering data on the Web. He spent a good deal of the time plugging the Yahoo Query Language (YQL). But that was understandable. In YQL, Yahoo gave developers a way to let their applications talk to hundreds of popular APIs through a common language.
Heilmann’s message had a very open-source vibe to it. He expressed his hopes for a world where developers build mobile apps with WC3 widgets so cell providers would be forced to adopt standards. He spoke of a day when IE6’s reign of standards exceptions will end and top companies will let their developers engage in 24-hour creative open-hack sessions.
[Ed Note: Heilmann impressed this desk with his drive to use technology for community good. He has, for example, worked with ad hoc programmer teams to build more accessible web interfaces for disabled individuals.]
Great progress may yet be a ways off. But Heilmann’s point that smart Web application development involves tying in APIs that cut workloads in half did ring a note of wisdom.
“Like, why make a developer spend days in making a map to the office when you can just use the Google Maps API link?” Heilmann asked.
Now the world has services such as Google Maps for directions, Flickr for photos, Twitter for messaging, Facebook for social networking and countless others. This is the age of APIs; work smarter not harder.