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The API and APP-ification of the Web


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Session Talk at Gluecon 2013 by @njyx of 3scale:

Published in: Technology

The API and APP-ification of the Web

  1. 1. The API- & APP-ificationof the WebSteven Willmott3scale networks@3scale - possibly everything else)
  2. 2. This Work is Licensed Under Creative CommonsCreative Attribution 3.0
  3. 3. “Welcome to the App-Economy”“What will win? Apps v’sHTML(5) ”“The Death of the OpenWeb?”
  4. 4. Some Hyperbole but..There is probably something going on…
  5. 5. And some of has to do withSPAs…
  6. 6. Single Page Web ApplicationsServer (REST / JSONAPI)ButtonsInfinite ScrollPush UpdatesEmber.jsAngular.jsBackbone.js…Single HTML Page & URL Per Pagemany Pages per Site / AppPages ServerWholeServerSPAs Serve a Single Page of HTMLand use in page controls to operatedynamically
  7. 7. e.g….(From
  8. 8. Obvious Benefits of SPAs• Lots of Benefits:– Slick interfaces, Similarity to Mobile/Desktop– App Speed, no need for Page Reloads– Interface variants are easier– Realtime / Push updates• And Downsides:– JS Skills at a premium, Less Tooling, ModernBrowsers Needed, Framework overload…– (and a few others we’ll mention later)
  9. 9. Examples
  10. 10. Evernote: The Platform Imperativee.g. Evernote“Capture Everything - Access anywhere”MobilePlatformsDesktopPlatformsWebBrowsersTopApps
  11. 11. App Like User Experience PageParam Driven
  12. 12. Zendesk: Speed and Slickse.g. ZendeskReal TimeUpdatesNo PageRedrawsEffectively a .jsAppAPI UserCommunity• App.js Example• Same Agility for All• More Robust API• 90+ Integrations
  13. 13. Value…• Platform strategy• Uniform user experience• Fast, Responsive, No Page Reloads, Push• API Enables 3rd Party Use, Javascript componentsmake that use easier• Both also have: dev communities & mobile apps
  14. 14. Adoption and Impact on the Web
  15. 15. Who Will Adopt?(assuming the tech works)Mobile Natives>> SAAS>> Ecommerce>> ContentImpact ismoreAnd moreradical
  16. 16. But there are issues…Links?Referencing?Crawling &Indexing?UIFragmentation?…Openness?RSSFollowing?Discovery?SEO?
  17. 17. Adoption Complexity & DisruptionLinkingReferencingSeamlessBrowsingDiscoveryMobile NativeBusinessesOS Specific UI is App Specific App StoreSAAS Businesses In app is fineUI is oftenSpecificPrimary DomainOnlyeCommerceBusinessesItems need to beaddressablefrom anywhereCommon CheckOut MetaphorsAre usefulMostly forPrimary DomainContent BusinessesNeeds toaddressablefrom anywhereExpectConsistent WebUISEO is Critical
  18. 18. So – How do We Move Forward?• Things we MUST Preserve:– Link-a-bility– Browse-a-bility– Crawl/Index/Discover-a-bility– Follow-a-bility• And a new thing we want to Gain including:– Script-a-bility
  19. 19. Technical ChallengesChanging Architecture of the Web
  20. 20. Link-a-bility• Hyperlinking• Fragment Referencability• Web Links Still Work• Fragments Still Work• Param Schemes Needto be Complete• Avoid HeaderInformation….• Links need to be immutable/persistent• Always addressable in the same way• Fragment Identifiers need the rightsemantics
  21. 21. Browse-a-bility• Automatically detect anadequate handler for Content• Possibly offer choices forhandlers• Mobile Situation isimproving• Browser Requirementsare a problem• HTML5+JS are becominggeneral compute canvas• Huge problem is testing /reliability• Browsing needs to seemlessly navigatebetween sites and always be able tohandle content automatically• Android: URI Event Subscription Handlers• IOS: Hard code apps to handle referals
  22. 22. Crawl/Index/Discover-a-bility• Explore and ClassifyPages/Fragments• Index, Rank and Return themupon Search• Not under the control ofWebmasters• Early SEO fix “#” FragmentURLS (Indexed by Google)• Google allows ParamIncludes (not clear howstrong)• Reality: Chicken/EggSituation• In addition to Linking• Meta-data is critical• Page Content is critical• URL Content is critical• “machine identification of content /value”Metadata ContentReputation / Value
  23. 23. Follow-a-bility• RSS Feeds for certain types ofcontent• Have a Consistent Handle on“what’s new”• RSS Now has a limitednumber of consumers• “social” is touted as thereplacement• Consistent APIs May behelpful (but don’t exist yet)• Replacement/Augementation with PubSubHUb?• Subscribe to a feed• Receive every item on the feed (and notmiss any)• Single Common Standard• It’s Polling but Structured
  24. 24. Script-a-bility• APIs form the basis forinteractions• Events scripted acrosssites/platforms• APIs are starting to becomemore widespread• Standardization on oAuth isHelping• Still a ton of work to do theplumbing• Still sometimes a littlecomplex for the end user• Underlying APIs expose functionality• No human UI Interaction needed• Scripting platforms allow simpleinteractions to occur in an automated way
  25. 25. Conclusions
  26. 26. Beyond the WebLive Scribe PenText and Audio$150SmartNotebookPhoto & TagsNew App$25-30MobileDesktopWebPhysical
  27. 27. Other Examples:Box + Printers & ScannersPhilips HueAPI Platform + Apps is Key for MixingDigital and Non-Digital
  28. 28. SPA Helps Align the Web witheverything else..
  29. 29. • Vast majority of Apps are still not SPA• Most apps still “decide” between Native first v’sHTML5 first• Mobile commerce is mostly separated “Web”commerce• Most APIs feeding mobile are still hard wired into asingle Apps• Auth on mobile and the Web are often stillcompletely different• Physical devices now linking in… isn’t this all obvious?Not so much…Next 2-3 years will see radicalchange in mainstream usage
  30. 30. Big Ideas to Take Away123SPAs Will see increasing adoptionPotentially Disruptive Change tothe Web itselfLots of work to do to make itseamless & open
  31. 31. Thank you!, @3scaleWe make Awesome API Management Tools:
  32. 32. References•••