API? What API? Who needs an API?

I’ve had my fair share of missed opportunities but not seeing the business value in exposing a robust API to your application is beyond comprehension to me. Take Facebook for example, by opening up their API they blew past the competition and was able to embed themselves to every corner of the web cosmos. Third party investments in their API are so great that, to so many companies, it doesn’t make business sense to completely move on to another social platform.

Even older platforms like SAP have embraced exposing a rich API framework that’s so embedded in a vast array of Fortune 500 companies that it’s almost virtually impossible to move away from. I’m not saying it’s completely impossible, just not cost effective. So in a nutshell, yes, done right, API’s are a gold mine for a business.

Now that you know how I feel about API’s, you are going to really understand why I was shaking my head to a response I received from a small project management outfit called Workamajig. I wasn’t a fan of the flash based project management platform to begin with but I gave it chance. I decided it would be much easier to work the tasks in Workamajig from the tools I’m familiar with such as Visual Studio and TFS. I figured I can hook up the TFS API’s for handling work items and send them to the Workamajig API.

Sounds great in theory and working with normal modern platforms this would of been executed beautifully. So I decide to visit the Workamjig web site searching for keywords like “developers” and “api” and nothing. I search Google, searched Bing… nothing. Logically, I decide to send them the following email …

“I was searching all over your site for API information and came up short. Does Workamajig even have an API? I would like to see if I can integrate Workamajig with TFS or Git.”

… and to my delight they responded within the hour. But to my horror, I received the following response…

“Nope!  Workamajig does not have an API.  It is a total end to end system meant to take the place of any other system(s) that you have.  It is not a fill in piece of software or a simple project management tool but more of a way of going. [: ]”

Needless to say I was impressed by them having an emoticon version of their logo, but saying that Workamjig “is a total end to end system meant to take the place of any other system” … wow, that explains a lot. That explains their UX strategy, their choice in a flash based platform, even their business strategy. Not only do they just blatantly dismiss the API opportunity but they claim to replace TFS? Git? I mean that’s what I was asking about integrating with or am I reading too much into it? Either way, that response lacked tact and just lowered my respect for their platform even further.

“It is not a fill in piece of software or a simple project management tool but more of a way of going. [: ]”

Yeah, it’s a way of going alright, going away from Workamajig.

SMH

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