Monthly Archives: November 2006

The evolution of the API

I don’t pretend to understand how it works but I do like the look of Mashery. If APIs are going to transform business, if they’re going to become a feature of everyday organisational interaction, if we’re going to start saying ‘API’ as a kind of shorthand for the swapping of functions and data in our increasingly networked environment, then we’re going to need tools like Mashery.

Of course, I think Mashery is necessarily a transitional business: the longer-term for enablers like Mashery is probably less interesting: their plumbing function will presumably be absorbed by the API providers themselves. Standards will develop, the stack will evolve and APIs will take on management features of their own – a UI will emerge. Adding an API to an application will become a matter of setting some switches in the compiler or choosing an option in your app generator.

APIs will soon generate their own stats and account for their own usage – interrogating your API for details of your partners’ activity will be a trivial daily activity. In the meantime, though, Mashery takes care of all that. Neat.

API defined at Wikipedia.

Lots of good politics this week

Climate change – some kind of watershed. Iraq – another watershed?. Immigration – the numbers confirm Britain is a net consumer of migrants and has become a kind of ‘interchange’ for mobile populations (probably not a bad role for a post-imperial power at the edge of a major economic bloc). Privacy – ours is becoming a ‘surveillance society‘. US Mid-terms – Kerry’s foot is firmly in his mouth again but the Republican hegemony is history anyway. ASBOs are cool and David Cameron wants you to ”love a lout‘.

George Monbiot is annoying

Look. I know. You’re going to think this is petty (or just stupid… or hateful) but the annoying thing about Britain’s overnight conversion to the need for action on climate change is that we’re all now kind of obliged to acknowledge that George Monbiot – Britain’s most annoying Green – was right all along. Or at least less wrong. God I hate that (he is annoying, isn’t he?).

A failure of nerve on immigration from accession states

Britain deserves better than a knee-jerk ban on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants

Closing the door to Romanians and Bulgarians is not irrational. No nation should be obliged to provide unlimited access to its labour market. Only free-market ultras believe that a territory can arrive, without help, at a kind of benign population homeostasis. Labour markets don’t ‘clear’, at least not overnight.

Still, I think we’ve missed an opportunity in making such a politically contingent decision. This is a profoundly unpragmatic act, a refusal of the lessons we’ve learnt from previous EU accessions. Poles and Czechs are active now in the UK economy, visible members of society, coming and going when they feel like it in their late model Renaults and Toyotas. They’re not skulking in the shadows of the black economy – economically immobile, held back by their inability to participate fully.

They’re a dynamic new component in the economic life of the nation. Restricting the Bulgarians and Romanians to reserved occupations will leave them in the limbo of the illegal economic migrant, forbidden to pay tax and inhibited from going home because of the fear they might not be able to return to Britain later.

We should have held our nerve, kept the borders open and resisted the hysterical xenophobia of the tabloids. Instead we’ve handed the racists and the isolationists an easy political victory. Pity.

Handy Bulgaria and Romania Q&A from BBC News Online.