Last week, we made the Scoop.it API public. Beyond the documentation that our great engineering team put together, I wanted to share our vision on why this is important and where we’d like to go with it.
What’s an API for anyway?
At a conference last Thursday, I saw Techcrunch’s @mikebutcher draw an interesting parallel between Europe’s Industrial Revolution in the 1700’s/1800’s and today’s Web Revolution. Both have engines:
– the former had the Steam Engine that powered everything from trains to factories and boats.
– the latter has – he says – open platform with API’s.
I think the image is great. Most people didn’t really care about how a Steam Engine worked or even looked like but yet, they were essential. From one common element, people were able to build many other things and that’s what want to see happening for Scoop.it.
The API delivers an important part of our vision for Scoop.it.
Fundamentally, on top of being a great Web site which you guys visit with an amazing loyalty that’s a great reward for the hard work we put into it, Scoop.it is about 2 essential transactions:
– The Scoop.it transaction which happens when you click on “Scoop.it!”. It associates a piece of web content with a curator on a topic together with a bunch of essential meta data, first and foremost the editing done by the curator.
– The follow transaction which happens when a user follows a topic. An action which progressively builds the interest graph of our users for the benefit of delivering them an essential filter : hand-picked quality content on their interests and on their interests only.
What opening up the API means is that we want the data resulting from these 2 transactions to be something the world can use to benefit from the collective intelligence that Scoop.it enables.
It means you can now use this data to build web sites, clients or any other type of applications to make content distribution smarter. Which is – at the end of the day – what curation is all about.
Scoop.it is growing in momentum through the collective usage of you, our users. So now you can get back from Scoop.it this collective intelligence you helped create. Enjoy!
(API documentation is on http://scoop.it/dev and we also have a Google Group: http://groups.google.com/group/scoopit-api-talk)
Credits: Photo by Marmotte73, available under a Creative Commons license