NikeFuel API

Nike will unleash the application programming interface (API) for NikeFuel — the company’s metric for tracking physical activity — during a music hackathon Sunday at South by Southwest.

NikeFuel is the technology behind Nike’s FuelBand, a waterproof wristband introduced in January that measures a user’s movement and syncs with an iPod touch or iPhone.

The API will allow third-party music developers to infuse NikeFuel features into their apps or platforms.

“Nike will be joining the Managers Hack to open up a BETA version of the NikeFuel API for the first time to developers interested in combining music with the Nike+ FuelBand,” hackathon organizer and rep at startup Backplane told Mashable Friday.

Backplane, which created Lady Gaga’s new Little Monsters social network, along with music-streaming service Spotify organized the hackathon to build the future of digital music distribution.

SEE ALSO: Path Adds Nike+ Integration, Lets You Share Running Data With Friends
At the event, hackers have eight hours to create and plan a demo that will be judged by a panel of music industry managers, including Lady Gaga’s manager Troy Carter (who co-founded Backplane), Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun and Roc Nation President Jay Brown. People from Spotify, Pandora, Nike and SoundHound also will help choose a winner.

The Managers Hack will be live streamed (see video below) starting at 3 p.m. ET.

Randi Zuckerberg, who left her role as marketing director at Facebook in August to launch RtoZ Media, will provide commentary throughout the event.

What Is Nike+ FuelBand?


Nike+ FuelBand

The Nike+ FuelBand is a new wristband that tracks a metric that Nike has developed called “Fuel,” which measures all physical activity across sports.

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What Is NikeFuel?

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Spotify is releasing its API for iOS Wednesday.

The red hot music streaming service, which recently made its U.S. debut, will open its catalogue of more than 15 million tracks to third-party iPhone and iPad app developers.

The application package, Libspotify for iOS, is available to Spotify Premium users. It rounds out Spotify’s API suite, also available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux.

“We hope this will enable a new category of iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch applications with Spotify inside and allow for more immersive music experiences within iOS apps,” Director of Platform Sten Garmark says.

The API release is important considering the bevy of music subscription services competing for end user attention. Now, Spotify has the opportunity to piggyback on the popularity of Apple’s iOS platform to reach an even greater audience.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Andreas Blixt

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Soon Twitter users will be able to use the service’s official photo-sharing and uploading features from their favorite third-party apps. The company has made photo upload functionality available to developers.

Twitter introduced its media upload API Monday to allow developers to attach images — in PNG, JPG, and unanimated GIF formats — to tweets.

The release comes ahead of Apple’s Twitter-infused iOS 5 update, and is clearly intended to get app makers and users acclimated to the new photo-sharing option.

“Photos are a fundamental way that people share context, information, jokes, and personal moments on Twitter,” Jason Costa, developer relations manager, wrote in a post on Twitter’s developer blog. “Following last week’s wider release of photos to users, we’re ready to share our media upload API.”

Twitter will also soon equip its own mobile apps with photo upload support, Costa says.

Twitter’s photo-sharing and uploading service, powered by Photobucket, was pushed out to all users last week. It competes directly with Twitter photo-sharing apps such as Twitgoo, Lockerz, TwitPic and yFrog.

Developers wishing to leverage the Twitter photo upload API will need to adhere to the service’s display guidelines and rate limits.

Image courtesy of Flickr, shawncampbell

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Nearly two weeks after Tumblr requested that unofficial browser extension Missing e go offline, the useful utility is planning to make its way back to users.

Missing e is an unofficial browser extension that adds functionality and enhanced features to Tumblr. The ability to reblog yourself, enhance the “Ask” feature and a host of dashboard tweaks are just some of the many features in the extension. Originally, the project started off as a few userscript enhancements, but over time, it evolved into an extension that was frequently updated and frequently developed.

Missing e is one of the few extensions I have installed on every browser on my laptop and iMac. In fact, I like Missing e so much, I reached out to its developer Jeremy Cutler earlier this summer and asked if he would agree to be interviewed for a story on various Tumblr hacks.

Just days before Cutler and I were scheduled to meet in person, Tumblr reached out and asked him to take the extension offline until some issues could be sorted out.

On its face, it looked like Tumblr had problems with the way that Missing e was making some of its API calls, as well as questions about whether or not Missing e followed the guidelines set out in the Tumblr API License Agreement. After Cutler agreed to make changes so that the code was more efficient, as well as removing a feature that would hide the Tumblr Radar, it appeared that the bigger problem, at least from Cutler’s perspective, was the way that Missing e modifies the Tumblr Dashboard for its users. Cutler was left with the impression that without stripping away every feature that would make Missing e useful, he would be unable to satisfy Tumblr.

When we met last week, Cutler opened up to Mashable about some of the technical, ethical and social challenges that have in essence, forced him to throw in the towel on Missing e.

The loss of Missing e wasn’t something that the community took lightly. More than 2,500 users signed a petition to save Missing e and prominent members of the Tumblr community expressed their support for the extension.

Still, Cutler wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue with the project. When we spoke to Cutler last week, the entire issue was still raw. As he wrote on his own Tumblr last week, “it’s hard not taking this personally.”

Tumblr, it turns out, is most responsible for the change in fate for Missing e. You see, earlier this week, some new features made their way into the Tumblr Dashboard. These are features that bore striking resemblance to some of the preferences in Missing e

As Cutler told us via email:

“I had been working a little bit on the code when the mood struck, but when they began releasing features similar to those in Missing e, I have to admit that I got my back up. I am glad that they are trying to improve, whether or not they’ve taken their cues from me. Still, I think the way they’ve implemented these new features leaves a little to be desired. The new release will fix the tag wrapping problem and allow users to make automatic tag reblogging optional.”

At this stage, Cutler is preparing to release a new version of Missing e. This version will not use the API in any way, which to Cutler, should clear him of any violation of the API License Agreement. One of the casualties of not using the API will mean that timestamps on posts in the Dashboard will not supported.

Cutler is also going to remove the popular Follow Checker and Unfollower features from Missing e. As he puts it, “that amount of scraping really isn’t fair to Tumblr’s servers.” And while he expects to lose some users over this feature, he’ll also be getting rid of his biggest source of support queries.

For its part, Tumblr has been quiet regarding the issue. After speaking with Cutler several times last week, the company hasn’t contacted the developer again since the incident received some press attention.

Frankly, as disappointed as we have been that this entire situation has unfolded this way, we’re happy to see that Missing e is going to be back in action. Cutler, who is a software engineer in his day job, is the type of person most companies want as add-on developers.

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Boutique music licensing agency Audiosocket is launching a new service that will make it easier for content creators to get access to music legally.

Audiosocket has just unveiled Music as a Service, a platform that can be plugged into third-party photo- and video-sharing services, gaming platforms, digital and ad agencies, and social networks. Users of those services can access the agency’s catalog of more than 33,000 songs for use in their projects.

Audiosocket tells us that it has signed “several major partnerships” with companies planning to use Music as a Service, but declined to reveal any specifics. However, we do know that Audiosocket’s API is open and available to developers (via its website), so any platform that wants to integrate Music as a Service can do so (after being approved by Audiosocket). Partners stand to gain 10% to 50% of revenues generated via music licenses, depending on scale.

We can see this platform being a boon to content creators on bigger platforms — much like YouTube integrating Creative Commons video into its video editor. We can also see it gaining more revenue and recognition for artists across platforms, as their music will be easily available to a wider variety of customers.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, shulz

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Fitness app developer RunKeeper has made its API available to the public, enabling developers to make use of its “Health Graph,” which organizes and correlates a variety of health and fitness data.

RunKeeper’s Health Graph integrates fitness sensor data, such as GPS trackers, Wi-Fi body scales, sleep monitoring devices and heart-rate transmitters, with eating habits, workout schedules, social interactions and more to help users track and understand their health and fitness choices in a holistic, highly correlated manner.

RunKeeper’s apps for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 can help users understand how their social habits affect their sleep and workout patterns, which in turn affects their health.

Now device manufacturers and app developers — including launch partners Foursquare and Zeo — can tap into this same data, as well as RunKeeper’s social features, like its FitnessFeed and sharing integrations with Facebook and Twitter. Founder Jason Jacobs explains the API in a blog post.

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Startup Mashape launched a marketplace for APIs of all kinds Thursday.

For startups looking to create or license their web-based products, an API marketplace is a boon. It allows for quick publicizing and discovery of APIs, and lets its users easily match them to developers’ needs. Mashape is also launching a simple billing system and social features for API providers.

“Most of the value of information technology will be delivered and sold via APIs in the near future; and not only services but also things connected to the Internet,” Mashape co-founder Augusto Marietti said in a release. “We just want to build the ecosystem to let this happen, faster.”

The marketplace already has more than 110 APIs, including tools for SMS, geolocation, music services, photo filters, travel, games and a great deal more.

SEE ALSO: Mashable’s Series on API Management

API providers can list any JSON API using a wizard interface and five auto-generated client libraries (PHP, Ruby, Python, Obj-C and Java) and API tools.

And API consumers can use any Mashape-listed API with a single developer key and a standardized interface. There’s also an online Test Console for playing around with APIs before committing to use one.

If you’d like to give the Mashape marketplace a shot, just use the coupon code Mashable to get into the beta now.

Image based on a photo from iStockphoto user alxpin.

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SMS is the ugly stepchild of mobile applications, but if you’re looking for a simple way to reach a huge swath of people, SMS is the way to go.

After all, smartphone penetration is still relatively low within the U.S. and global markets. And for some tasks, you might not need something as complicated as a native or mobile web application.

Perhaps you want to launch an autoresponder or send interactive outbound messages. Maybe you want to run an SMS-based marketing promotion or build a self-service app for customers. You could even set up a voting app à la American Idol.

SMS is a great way to reach a much larger consumer base with these kinds of simple messages. And due to the simple fact of technological evolution, building an SMS app has never been easier.

SMSified is a new and relatively easy way to build SMS apps with a REST API. The service provides an SMS gateway that works with the Big Four carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile) as well as Virgin Mobile and MetroPCS. Currently, SMSified apps work within the U.S. only.

The API allows for sending and receiving text messages via either short codes or ten-digit phone numbers. SMSified can also help devs with setting up short codes, a 90-day, $3,000 fee process.

The service uses a REST interface based on the GSMA OneAPI standard. It uses the HTTP POST method on the web server side to send and receive messages and notifications. You can get more info on the specifics in the documentation.

The service is currently in a beta period — during this time, all messages sent through SMSified are free. The company is also offering users a $20 credit to send and receive messages and test SMSified apps. When the beta and the credit run out, SMS messages cost $.01 each.

SMSified is made by Voxeo, a VoIP and IVR (that’s “interactive voice response”) company.

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Web-based tools creator Aviary is launching an API on Wednesday that allows any website or mobile app to easily tweak or add effects to its photos.

A dating site, for instance, could use the API to autocorrect red eye, lighting and blurriness in profile photos. An ecommerce site could automatically resize and watermark product photos. And a photo-snapping mobile app could add Instagram-like filters without creating its own code. Aviary does the heavy lifting in the background.

In the past, Aviary has created APIs for its suite of web-based media editors and embeddable photo editor. Photo startup Pixable, online store creator Shopify and photo diary Momentile are a few of the companies that use the tools to give their users photo editing options.

The new Effects API, which can run without any user interaction, is somewhat of a new approach for the 4-year-old startup.

“We saw the photo filter space and decided instead of entering it (via a competing app), we should power the space. …We are expanding our offering and moving into the consumer space,” says Alex Taub, Aviary head of business development.

Just as Twilio‘s API powers group messaging apps like GroupMe, Beluga and Fast Society, Aviary aims to lurk behind the websites and apps that use photos — ultimately charging frequent users for its service after the beta period ends.

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You don’t have to get hit by the proverbial bus to know it hurts, and you don’t have to make the same mistakes other devs have made on your way to a functional, widely used, efficiently managed API. In our final post on API management, our panel of experts has returned to give a few oft-committed mistakes for companies or developers offering an API for the first time — and how you can avoid them.

Clear & Fair Docs & Guidelines Are Key

Of course, offering an API involves a lot more than just creating the API itself. Guillaume Balas is an executive at 3scale, which offers full-featured API management and monetization tools. He says many of 3scale’s customers make mistakes such as not including documentation, sample code, or examples. He said that having no Terms and Conditions or unclear T&Cs is also unfortunately common.

Oren Michels is Mashery‘s CEO. His company does API management and strategy for more than 100 brands and 25,000 applications. He agrees that “lousy or inaccurate or missing documentation” is a common mistake, as is “terms and conditions that say ‘no commercial use’ or other things that suggest to developers that for some reason you get to make money and they don’t.”

And with your API, as with many other aspects of your business, “Keep It Simple, Stupid” is a dictum you can’t afford to forget. “Complex registration and key issuance protocols, or worse yet, requiring people to email a key request and wait for someone to get around to responding” is a practice Michels cautions you to avoid.

Be Prepared to Market Your Butt Off

Shanley Kane works on the product team at Apigee, a company that offers a range of API tools for developers and software companies. She says a common mistake is hiding your API under a bushel. “For companies new to the API game, opening up can be scary. Many companies make the mistake of not talking about their APIs — to press, developers and partners — and then wonder why no one is using their API. Commit to making your API a success by embracing the new rules of developer marketing.”

Augusto Marietti founded Mashape, a marketplace for building, distributing and hacking with APIs. He says the biggest mistake many API-offering companies make is not having enough focus in the marketing in the initial months after an API launch.

“You have to target not all kinds of developers,” he says, “but only the developers who need your API to solve a real problem they have. You have to look around, find and contact them, one by one. Those early adopters will spread your API to the world and thousands of other developers.”

Moreover, he notes that in addition to focus, you’ll need a good plan, a lot of resources and a certain amount of stamina. “Launching an API is like launching a new product, in that you have to give it all of your effort for at least six months. [You must] go to meetups, organize contests with interesting prizes that devs really want to have, evangelize your API around the world and organize hackathons.”

Marietti also recommends partnering with other companies with APIs related to your business. You’ll attract more business and split the cost of marketing your API.

Dimitri Sirota is an executive for Layer 7 Technologies, which offers its own suite of API management tools for the enterprise. He says another marketing (or PR) mistake is “having references that don’t relate to your business. Make sure you have references that look like you. For instance, if you are an enterprise, make sure you have enterprise customers supporting and referencing you.”

Get Feedback & Use It

Kane also cautions API-offerers to get feedback “early and often” to have a successful launch.

By “early and often,” she means getting select developers on-board and using your API in its most nascent stages. Invite a few trusted devs to use a private, “pre-alpha” version of your API, and put your API through a thorough beta stage, too.

While in these more formative stages, use the feedback you get to improve your design, find and squash bugs, and generally “make sure that the API is usable and pleasurable when you go live,” says Kane.

Brace Yourself for Traffic

Kane also says many API noobs are not prepared for the scope and scale of API traffic, which, she warns, is quite different from the traffic your web app might see.

“Your API will be accessed by mobile apps, web services and potentially hundreds of connected devices and platforms. Supporting that traffic means building out an API stack that will scale, prevent abuse and misuse, support mobile optimization and give you visibility and control.

“There are a number of API-specific solutions out there … but the most important thing is to understand how API traffic is different, and then you build your infrastructure accordingly.”

Sirota says many companies make the mistake of “not using a robust proxy that can provide a range of security and management controls.”

Understand How the API Will Affect Your — & Devs’ — Business

Michels gets the sage final word, saying that
many companies make the mistake of not truly understanding how an API can grow their business. Instead, companies believe developers should all be paying for API access and should only get limited access, at that.

You might want to change directions, he says, if your API offers “no path to success — limits on traffic or usage that can’t be raised if someone is successful.” Or if your company is charging for your API, “believing that developers will plunk down a credit card and pay by the call, or by the thousands of calls.”

The overarching mistake here, he notes, is “not understanding how and why the API will improve and grow your business and focusing on making sure it does that.”

Sirota makes a similar point, saying a big mistake is “starting too big and worrying about revenue from the get-go. Start small. Get an API out there and learn — worry about revenue later.”

Do you have other tips for avoiding API mistakes? Let us know in the comments.

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