API Month

I do a lot of tinkering with API’s for work. They make operating with other people’s systems super simple and for IoT, an open API is often touted as an easy way for third parties to use your data for monitization purposes, like Intel’s Mashery, or as a public service with TFL (transport for London).

I just threw out a lot of acronyms so very quickly, what are API’s?

Application Programming Interfaces are a way of accessing or controlling a third party system with a well documented set of commands. A good programmer builds in such capabilities into their product so it can be used easily by others wanting to implement/build upon their work. A good example of this is Google Maps API was used to build Citymapper, a fantastic mapping service that is now in dozens of cities around the world. It takes google’s data and mushes it together (the technical term would be data fusion but I prefer “mushes together”) with other local data sources for traffic/transport/weather to make a better mapping service.

And what is IoT?

IoT is the Internet of Things, its so hot right now… Simply, its about making dumb objects smart. Fridge becomes Smart Fridge. To become smart it needs to sense its environment in order to make its own decisions. Sensing the environment creates a bunch of data about said environment. API’s let you easily access said data.

Anywho, I just thought that it would be a cool idea to have an API month. Every day I will create a simple app to do something using an API at its core. It will definitely be simple and most probably be written in python. It may have a physical implementation depending on how busy I am but it will definitely pull some data from a service for some silly/informative/instructional purpose.

Tomorrow will be day one. I’m going to start with an easy one. I decide each morning if I should cycle or take the train to work in London. The train is super variable every as I have to go train to tube to another tube to get to work. If any of them are down or have delays its takes forever. So I thought I could write a script that automatically check to see how long my commute will be.