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Posts tagged ‘API’

Ifttt: A Scriptable Social Web


Ifttt, or “If This, Then That”, is a new web service that activates triggers based on specific events. The service works in conjunction with your social networks, so if someone tags you in a photo on Facebook, you could set up a service to send you an SMS. Ifttt has a seemingly unlimited amount of uses. Once you get the hang of creating tasks, you’ll find it difficult to stop creating and tweaking.

When you create a new task, you’re given the ability to specify your trigger. A trigger forms the first part of the task, like the “If this” part. Triggers can come from just about anything: receiving an email, fluctuations in the stock market, changes in weather, particular times of the day or week, or new posts on Facebook, just to name a few.

The second part of the task is the action, or the “then that” part. Ifttt likes to focus a lot of its potential on communication. As a result, the actions generally cover the ability to send a tweet, email, text message or IM. When you put them all together, you can be SMSed once your stock drops below a threshold or texted when you’re tagged in a photo on Facebook.

Ifttt is currently in private beta. Sign up for your own invitation through their sign-up form.

Apollo: Simplified Project Management

We have calendar web apps, to-do lists, address books and project management web apps. Apollo is a new web app that crosses borders and pulls these services together. It features a to-do list, calendar, sophisticated project management app and address book all on the same page.

Apollo was crafted as a modern web app. We see a high level of attention to detail both with the design and the development. New windows slide down like sheets or panels, which will make Mac users feel right at home. Double-clicking on a particular spot on your calendar springs open a window to create a meeting beginning at that time. Tasks with approaching deadlines dispatch an email reminder to your inbox, giving peace of mind knowing you’re staying on top of your priorities. As a new app, we were blown away to see the features we demand in a calendar app or to-do list app are available.

Each of the individual modules seem to be aware of one another. Your projects can be assigned to multiple people, which also appear in your Tasks, and your Tasks also appear on your calendar. Apollo helps eliminate a lot of individual web apps you may already use in order to create one, single web app to handle it all.

It’s new, but missing a few features. We didn’t see an Import function to get your data out of your existing programs and into Apollo. That means manual transcription for your contacts and calendar items, which may be too high of a barrier for users at this point. Also, features like data export and an API are in the works but not available to users. Apollo likely scaled back a few features in order to launch. We’re looking forward to seeing them added.

These objections don’t really represent a cause of concern. Apollo is refined and polished, so create a free account to see how a modern web app should behave. The service is in a private beta at the moment. Email them for an invite code, and be sure to mention Mini Sprout.

Crowdbooster: Bring Analytics to Twitter

Even with so many companies investing in social media, we still struggle to make sense of our data. You may tag your links with utm_source and utm_content to measure best performing Tweets. Or you may run recurring media sentiment analyses to see how people are responding to your brand online. There’s plenty of space for these tools to evolve, and Crowdbooster may be the next step.

Crowdbooster, now in private beta, brings analytics-driven insight to your Twitter account. It goes beyond tweets and frequency to allow you to uncover new ideas on how people are responding to your messages. The service plots your tweets against retweets and people reached to identify your most magnetic messages. Crowdbooster can also track your activity and your followers’ activity and actually recommend the best timeframes for when to tweet. Seriously. Paid members can generate custom reports and export them to PDFs and Excel. Ultimately, Crowdbooster tells marketers what’s working and what’s not working in a matter of minutes.

The twittersphere is not by any means lacking tools for people to plugin and use. Ever since Twitter launched their API, script kiddies and hobbyists have been looking for any excuse to build an app. Fortunately, Crowdbooster provides real business value, and it’s powerful enough to make marketers wonder how they ran their campaigns without it.

Crowdbooster is available in private beta at the moment. Be sure to mention “MiniSprout.com” when you sign-up.

Mashape: The API Marketplace

Mashape, which launches in private alpha today, is an API marketplace for developers and web app owners.

For people running a web app, Mashape gives away an API library so you can drop it into your app and instantly allow developers to begin building mashups with your service. The infrastructure is available for PHP now, and they’ll be adding Ruby soon.

For developers, Mashape helps pull together APIs and hold them in one spot. It’s easy to browse and find new capabilities to use. And since all of the web apps are already running the Mashape infrastructure, your Mashape API key works with every service. Give yourself more time to build an app and less time getting started.

Mashape is in private alpha, so use the invite code MINISPROUT when you register to jump to the head of the queue.

The Echo Nest: Comprehensive Music Data

The Echo Nest powers a lot of music recommendation services across the web. But what we really like is they give app developers direct access to their massive music database.

According to them, The Echo Nest is the result of twelves years of research across MIT, Columbia and Berkeley. Its database grows using algorithms we would usually associate with statistics or business intelligence:  data mining, machine learning and a bit of analysis through vocal cues. We see the database extend beyond anything that exists from Amazon.com’s or Apple’s iTunes catalogues, because it contains more than just meta-data. In addition to pulling details from album details, it analyzes tempo and pitch, crawls the web to see how people are describing particular songs or genres, and actually takes into account music trends emerging across social media. Who knew a holistic music database could contain so much detail?

Developers use customary API calls to access the data, and they have a lot of options. Consider the capabilities when you have this data:

Many of The Echo Nest’s commercial clients use the data to power music recommendations, promoting alternatives using any combination of data calls. Where the innovation may lie, however, is within the non-commercial developer community. The Echo Nest’s website houses a showcase of experiments. For example, take Streamograph, which plots an area chart by mashing the hottest artists with their recent news mentions. Or there’s the unofficial Artist Discovery Guide to SXSW, which pipes in data from your Last.fm account and makes recommendations on which SXSW performances best match your music tastes.

The Echo Nest’s terms of use are really well presented, so developers know exactly what’s expected of them before they start. If you’re running a non-commercial music app or service, The Echo Nest is free for use. If you’re running a commercial music app or service, reach out to them for details on using their API.