In the last period, there was a huge API growth especially in mobile applications industry, APIs being used both in the applications’ development process and as business tools. Unfortunately, building and hosting it usually turns into a lot of work that gets in the way of getting things done. Thus, many brilliant ideas are stuck with server configurations, database administration or security issues. But, what if we could get the API ready in just a few clicks? And, believe it or not it's totally developed with Joomla!
Google Summer of Code ... and beyond!
This was the starting point of creating an application through which anyone can build an API in a few minutes and start to make requests to it right away. It was happening in September 2012 after a great summer with Joomla! in the Google Summer of Code program. Together with Diana Prajescu, another GSOC student, we decided to put the money from the summer into the IXAPI startup. Powered by Softlayer Catalyst Startup program and with a development process had its ups and downs, on 15 of February we launched a first BETA version fully built using the Joomla! Platform on https://ixapi.com.
The summer with Joomla! during Google Summer of Code made us understand that Joomla! is not just a CMS but it also has a powerfull framework that can be used for creating all kind of cool stuff. IXAPI uses RESTful APIs, an MVC for the main service and the Unified Content Model from eBay that is not in the platform yet. The starting point for the APIs was the example of how to build an API using Joomla! that I worked on: https://github.com/stefanneculai/Web-service-API. The MVC we are using is a custom one (https://github.com/stefanneculai/joomla-mvc) that follows the structure of the PHPCake and RubyOnRails frameworks. Again, the Joomla! Framework was the starting point of it and we could get it ready in about a day of work.
The Unified Content Model (https://github.com/eBaySF/joomla-platform/tree/content) helped us a lot during development. Using IXAPI, users can define the objects of their applications together with the connections between them and then they get a RESTful API generated instantly. Here is where the power of the UCM comes in. It offers an abstract way of treating the content inside an application, so we could allow our users to customize a lot the objects they use inside their applications with very few programming effort.
The time we saved in development helped us focus on creating a friendly interface. Thus, users simply define the objects inside their applications, then specify how they interact one with each other and then a RESTful API together with a customized documentation hosted on the IXAPI servers is generated instantly.
Right now, we are working on new features that will get in with the new release and we reward anyone who reports bugs with an increased number of free API calls and more file storage. The new features will include generating insigts and integration with social networks. The packages created by Diana (for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+) during the last summer will be the base of these cool new features.
We invite you to watch our presenting video and we are looking forward to any suggestions and comments about our startup on https://ixapi.com!