Large portions of our personal business worlds are moving online. Banking, insurance, taxes, health care, education--pick an industry and they are increasingly operating via the World Wide Web.
Each service we use, while in the cloud, operates within its own silo. In the course any normal day we could interact with multiple cloud services, generating content, data and other vital information we need to function. The demand for interoperability between these cloud services we are growing dependent on, will become critical.
Web APIs are designed for interoperability between distributed platforms. But at scale, if a particularly successful platform’s API design is able to be emulated and shared amongst hundreds or thousands of platforms--the potential is even greater. If application developers know they can build web or mobile apps that use multiple platform providers, using a single common API spec, the chances for market growth significantly increases.
Consider the Amazon Web Services (AWS) API design. There are a number of cloud providers who emulate the AWS API design, such as with first implementation of Google Developer Storageand up to & other providers: Dunkel Cloud Storage, Host Europe Cloud Storage, GreenQloud Storage Qloud, ScaleUp Technologies, Connectria Cloud Storage, Lunacloud, andDreamObjects Cloud Storage.
This type of API interoperability benefits the leading provider (AWS in this case), secondary providers, developers and ultimately cloud computing end-users. We see the result in the success of cloud computing around compute and storage--enabling rapid cloud growth and overall healthy balance between all players in the market.
At any point, if Amazon decided to stake a copyright claim for the Amazon EC2 or S3 API design, or even if a precedent was set for API copyright, it would scare off the type of behavior we’ve seen in the cloud space. Severely limiting growth, diversity and interoperability between platforms who offer similar services.
Interoperability between online platforms is essential to the future of business. API copyright would stand in the way of the rapid deployment and adoption of online services, with secondary providers shying away from emulating successful players in the space and significantly increasing overhead for developers building web and mobile applications on top of multiple platforms and their APIs.
I think the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sums it up best:
Treating APIs as copyrightable would have a profound negative impact on interoperability, and, therefore, innovation. APIs are ubiquitous and fundamental to all kinds of program development. It is safe to say that all software developers use APIs to make their software work with other software.
Some other reading on the subject:
- Should Amazon Define Cloud Standards? - Mike Fratto
- Cloud APIs – Is Amazon the de Facto Standard? - Tiffany Trader
- 3 reasons we won't see a cloud API standard - David Linthicum
- Do We Need Cloud API Standards? - Sinclair Schuller
- Is Amazon the Official Cloud Standard? - Ellen Rubin
- Unified APIs or API Standards, The Race is On - Kin Lane
- The great challenge—and opportunity—of cloud: interoperability - James Urquhart
|Amazon Web Services, Cloud Computing, Cloud Storage, copyright, EFF, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Interoperability|
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