Google, IBM, Sun cite developer outreach

But Sun official emphasizes caution in being open

Officials from Google and IBM detailed efforts Tuesday to extend their platforms to developers via APIs and Web 2.0 technologies. But a Sun Microsystems executive cautioned that openness offered via forums such as blogs can have negative consequences if not managed well.

Executives from the three companies talked about opening up to developers at the Evans Data Developer Relations Conference in the US. Google's Patrick Chanezon, API evangelist, discussed how the company has expanded from having three APIs available three years ago to having 55 APIs now. The company had 32 APIs available in 2007.

"Google is [known] quite well for search and ads, and it only started getting into the API game about three years [ago]," Chanezon said.

Google has a range of APIs on code.google.com, including Google's AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) Search API, Chart API, and Search API. The company also has expanded its outreach to developers through development of three platforms: Android, for mobile applications; OpenSocial, featuring APIs for social applications; and the newly introduced App Engine, for running Web applications on Google infrastructure.

Google's Data APIs, for reading and writing data on the Web, meanwhile, feature the REST-based AtomPub publishing protocol, Chanezon noted. Google also leverages AJAX in areas such as search, he said.

Meanwhile, Google has been participating in open source. "There's already over 1 million lines of code open sourced by Google," in more than 100 projects, said Chanezon.

At IBM, the company leverages various Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis and forums to extend its developerWorks developer outreach program, said Kathy Mandelstein, director of IBM worldwide Rational marketing programs.

"Really, we're evolving developerWorks to be a community-based site that is really more about interaction," she said. IBM ponders how to enable developers to collaborate with IBM and each other, Mandelstein said.

Web 2.0, she said, presents technologies such as social networking, open source, and search and is no longer just for consumers. "It's really transformed the Web in the way we all do business," Mandelstein said.

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