IntuiLab’s New API Explorer Allows Mere Mortals To Tap Into Web Data And Services
August 4, 2017 by Dave Haynes
The technical side of IntuiLab’s new API Explorer is way over my head, but the general concept being floated by the French interactive software firm is pretty interesting – a way for software partners and end-user creative people to use web content and services without needing any programming chops.
The API Explorer is part of version 6 of IntuiFace, the company’s flagship software product.
A press release says: “With API Explorer, creatives of any skill set can access and display content and services exposed by Web APIs without having to write code.”
The content, the company says, can be dynamically incorporated within any IntuiFace experience running on any of the five platforms it supports, including Windows, iOS on the iPad, Android, Chrome and Samsung’s Tizen.
IntuiLab does a nice job providing some language about this mere mortals can, mostly, grasp:
An API – Application Programming Interface – is the doorway produced by one piece of software so that other software programs can talk to it. Thanks to cloud computing, the most common API language these days is known as “REST-based Web Services”.
IntuiFace API Explorer enables the no-coding creation of an interface asset for any REST-based Web Services query. With this interface asset, a running IntuiFace experience can dynamically read from and write to the data source and/or device accessible via that Web Service.
For anyone, of any skill set, API Explorer opens the door to tens of thousands of public and private APIs available in the cloud. There is everything from movie listings and weather forecasts to currency conversion, the latest photos from NASA and all those connected objects among the Internet of Things. The majority are free to use – for example, check out the Programmable Web directory – while others may require an access fee. Some may be private and internal to your organization. Regardless, all are accessible in IntuiFace.
Normally, if an end-user wants to tap into this sort of data-driven Web API content, that company will have to either get the CMS company or data source provider to write a dedicated plug-in, develop an SDK (developers kit) so coders can work with it, or get a third-party programming shop to figure the whole thing out. That costs money – potentially big money – and what works for one service probably works just for that one service.
The pitch with this API Explorer, says IntuiLab, is that “any Web Services API can be consumed without having to even know what a Web API is. This applies to all properties, methods and events exposed by the service. So not only can we read from and write to the service, we can call any method and react to any event.”
This all matters because more and more of what appears on digital signage screens is going to be driven by data from other systems, which will need to get ingested by the CMS. Some really mature platforms like Omnivex are already really good at data connectors, but others – not so much. And the simple fact is that there are going to be a lot of digital signage applications that don’t need a robust CMS. They just need to tap into data sources and reflect that, 24/7, on screens.
Here’s a podcast interview I did last year with the company’s CEO …