Deploy Low Hanging Fruit Rogue API Portals For Those Who Are Behind The Curve
15 Nov 2017
<p</p>The concept of rogue APIs isn’t anything new. Instagram started out as a rogue API, and many leading platforms who are less than open with their platforms have rogue APIs. They are usually APIs that have been reverse engineered from mobile applications, and published to Github for other developers to use. I’m looking to marry this concept with my low hanging fruit API work, where I help organizes start their API journey using data and content that is already on their website. Meaning, if it is already available on the web as table, form, or as CSV, spreadsheet, or other machine readable fie, it should be available via an API. As APIs are just the next step in the evolution, this is the logical place for the API journey to begin for many companies, organizations, institutions, and government agencies.
I’ve spidered the entire web site of organizations to extract lists of data sources they should be turning into APIs. I’ve done this at the request of the website owner, as well as without the permission. Honestly, it provides a pretty compelling look at the digital presence for an organization when you harvest raw data like this and publish to a Github repository. It isn’t a view that every organization is ready for, or has thought about. Making it an even more important place for organizations to start their API journey. APIs aren’t just about providing access to your data and content for your partners and 3rd party developers, it is about getting a handle on your digital assets, and how you present and provide access to this digital representation of your organization–something many suck at profoundly.
I’d like to invest more cycles into my low hanging fruit API research. I’d love to take some government agencies and not just identify the low hanging fruit, but actually deploy a rogue API portal, and hang some of the APIs there. I’d like to do this to a couple of companies, institutions, as well as government agencies. I know that I’d get in trouble doing this with some companies, and even other entities, but I think it is a good way to instigate the API conversation, and I am willing to take the chance. Ihad the University of Oklahoma contact me after I scraped their web site, and I think I could recreate the effect with other groups. The trick is doing it in a transparent and observable way, with everything on Github, and communicated in a clear way. So, that someone knows who is behind it, and can reach out to do things in a more formal way–moving from a rogue API, to an official API.
To move this forward I am going to target a single government agency, scrape their website, and any other open daa I can find, and then public an official rogue API portal, and begin hanging some of the APIs there. I’m even going to open up read and write capabilities via the API for any developer who wants to register, and pay for access to the API. I’ll make sure things are clearly marked as being a unofficial rogue API, and provide contact information for anyone looking to communicate with me. I see low hanging fruit rogue APIs as being a way I can get the attention of companies, organizations, institutions, and government agencies when it comes to APIs. Even begin to build awarness and critical mass within a community around the digital assets shared on the website, and now via an API portal. A kind of activist API deployment, and beginning the public API journey.
This goes well beyond the concept of scraping for me. Which I’ve seen a number of startups come and go trying to accomplish. This is about helping show organizations the importance having a website as well as APIs to help counter scraping efforts, and get a better handle on their digital presence. It is meant to start the conversation with some very entrenched folks around the digital resources they are making public, and how APIs can help them better quantify their digital presence, and take control over that presence beyond just their website. If there is an agency, institution, or organization you’d like to see target, or even would be willing to invest some money in deploying a low hanging fruit rogue API portal for, feel free to let me know. I’ll be investing some cycles into this area of my research, just to make sure my content is fresh, while also seeing what new conversations I might be able jumpstart, so its a good time to get involved and fund what I’m doing.