Selling Software as An API

By Deane Barker on July 21, 2003

Content Tools Expanded: Interwoven is doing something with TeamSite 6.0 that has been on my mind for a while now.

“…allows content management features, such as workflow and versioning, to be accessed from within Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition and Microsoft Corp. .Net-based applications as WSDL (Web Services Description Language) files. Version 2.0 uses Systinet Corp.’s Web Applications and Services Platform to provide Simple Object Access Protocol-XML/HTTP access to content management functionality. Developers can integrate that functionality into packaged applications.”

So, essentially, you can buy this content management system without any client or publishing mechanism, and just “roll your own” tools. So you’re buying an API, basically. This is almost how Movable Type is for me now. Since starting to use Zempt, I haven’t laid eyes on the MT interface for weeks. I only interact with MT through the XML-RPC server.

Is this the new face of software? Selling abstract products like APIs? A long time ago, a colleague of mine did some development with Microsoft Site Server (since dead, thank God — the software, not the developer). Site Server was essentially a big API. There were no client tools or anyting, just a bunch of COM objects. With a Web services API, you’ve gone even further down that road.

So long as everyone agrees on the API, any company can make a client. Think Dreamweaver supporting FrontPage Extensions (soon-to-die as well, thank God). Your own company could make a client for an API you sold, or you could just depend on other companies to do it for you.