How an Application Programming Interface (API) can lead the way to cohesive Interoperability

Posted: 5 September 2013
In terms of Interoperability, it can be difficult to simplify an API and it can get quite complicated, but we are going to try our best.

Instagram works in parallel with the Internet. Instagram has an API, if that was integrated with our Brand Centre® solution, then it would be theoretically possible, to manage an image from the Brand Centre onto Instagram.

Instagram_Icon_LargeSo you’d have an API from Instagram, which would enable a brand to manage their Instagram image shares via their Brand Asset Management solution. Instagram would therefore be fully interoperable with their Brand Asset Management system.

We have examined how a business requires a 3rd part provider to interoperate with and manage their brand assets and how hardware systems interoperate in milliseconds to provide a seamless experience. APIs are basically built on top of this fundamental understanding.

The programming interfaces themselves don’t really know what they are managing; they just know that if they share A with an API, the other system is going to do B.

If this understanding goes wrong, the cause can be anything from the elaborate code to the slightest little oversight.

In 1999 Lockheed Martin and NASA launched a robotic space probe to land on Mars. However, communication with the spacecraft was lost as it had missed its landing trajectory and crashed into the planet.measurement_of_units

NASA were in charge of getting the probe into space and Lockheed Martin were in charge of landing it on Mars.

The cause of failure was down to engineering error as the thrust instructions were in Metric unit Newtons (N) and the software to land the probe were in Imperial measure unit pound-force (lbf). It was that simple and since then it is more commonly known as the “metric mixup”.

This is an unfortunate but excellent example of how Interoperability can fail. If your systems do not speak the same language, your goal of increasing ROI of your branded assets, cannot be achieved.

api_monkey

And one fun-fact for the road...
the word API means monkey in Icelandic!

There is however no monkey business involved when it comes to APIs, so on that note, thank you for reading our Interoperability mini-series. Read previous our blogs:

Part one: Interoperability – What does it mean and how does it affect Digital Asset Management systems?

Part two: Interoperability - hardware systems that work in milliseconds to provide a seamless experience

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