I want to talk about the cloud today. However, I don’t want to speak about PLM cloud. I want to talk about the real cloud, the one that available on the everyday basis to all of us – the web. This is a place where today concentrated a lot of information – used and unused. The power of this cloud generated all social media repositories, customer-generated content, pictures, videos, social-networking information and many others.
A very interesting aspect of the public cloud is the fact many of these web cloud resources provide an access using Web API. If you are savvy enterprise software users, you are probably familiar with the concept of API (Application Programming Interface). The era of cloud and web created a new category – Web API. A very short, but informative Wikipedia article provides the following definition of Web API:
A web API (Application Programming Interface) is typically a defined set of HTTP request messages along with a definition of the structure of response messages, typically expressed in JSON or XML. While “web API” is sometimes considered a synonym for web service, the Web 2.0 applications typically have moved away from SOAP-based web services towards more direct REST-style communications. Web APIs allow the combination of multiple services into new applications known asmashups.
Navigate your browser to the Mashable article – How Web APIs unlock the value in the cloud? I recommend you to spend some time with this article and dig into examples of APIs and usages. Here is an interesting passage and example of Web API usage:
Just as the power of crowds has populated the social content repositories of Web 2.0 — YouTube videos, Facebook updates, tweets, and more — the web API enables designers and developers to re-purpose the body of knowledge that is the cloud. Here are some examples of how companies have used a web API to create more value. Business Tools:Salesforce.com opened their core services to partners via API, enabling them to innovate and extend Salesforce services. API traffic to Salesforce accounts for more than 60% of total Salesforce traffic.
If you dig a bit more inside, you can discover the resource – programmableweb.com which provide you an access to the information about public Web APIs available today. Navigate to this link to browse through APIs, purpose and examples. Below is a snippet of the website with resources and information.
Why Web APIs are important for PLM community?
I can see a growing number of voices in PLM community speaking about openness and data availability. The amount of systems and the level of complexity of data in manufacturing companies is very high. Yesterday I read a blog post by Virtual Dutchman (Jos Voskuil) – PLM is dead, long live….? Jos raised some very important questions and mentioned modern trends focusing on how to make information in a company to be accessed and optimized for re-use. In my view Web APIs is a good example how how proven web technologies can help to evolve PLM environment from today’s walled garden state to the future of programmable enterprise web PLM.
What is my conclusion? I think PLM systems and implementations are going to learn a lot about public web achievements very soon and very fast. Actually, I believe the smartest one are already doing so. Web is the most stable system that never been rebooted since the interception, and it is open and flexible. The future of PLM is in open programmable enterprise web API giving access to the information and providing resources to all applications and people. Just my thoughts..