APIs can offer intriguing opportunities for developers, with some services becoming particularly influential even in established markets, allowing new platforms to emerge and challenge incumbent solutions.
A good example of this emerged last week, when BitTorrent announced the arrival of the latest update for its Sync API. Sync is intended to be a rival to standard cloud-based data storage platforms and means that developers can integrate file sharing and transfer capabilities across multiple devices without necessarily relying on mainstream third-party hosting infrastructures, according to The Next Web.
The Sync API has been available to developers for the past two years, although the new update delivers a number of interesting capabilities which were not featured in its initial iteration.
The ability to share files via Sync can be embedded into apps thanks to the API, which also gives developers control over how this is handled once it has been rolled out to users.
Support for a number of notification settings is also available, enabling alerts to be sent when data reaches its destination, or indeed if the device to which it is intended to be transferred is not currently accessible via any available networks.
Furthermore, efforts have been made to ensure that automation of core functions is possible, allowing data to flow from device to device and server to server without manual intervention at every stage.
Although this platform might be seen as direct competition for companies which provide standard cloud storage for business data, BitTorrent is also eager to ensure that it works with vendors in this industry to allow the two types of service to run side by side, complementing one another.
In essence, the cloud can be harnessed to act as an always-on peer as part of an otherwise typical P2P set-up. So rather than a user having to remember to leave at least one of their devices on to allow for access to data from another device, the cloud picks up the slack in this respect while still also facilitating the other unique benefits of peer-to-peer data transfer, such as impressive speeds and location-based flexibility.
Compared to a cloud-only solution, where data would have to be uploaded to a central system before multi-platform access was possible, the P2P approach certainly presents some opportunities to improve efficiency.
Meanwhile, the influence of the cloud means that there is improved continuity of data across multiple devices, as the remote servers act as a corner stone and can keep files uniformly up to date as changes are made as this peer-to-peer API gets under way.
P2P data transfer may no longer be receiving as much mainstream attention as a result of the focus that is being drawn by the rise of cloud computing, especially in enterprise environments. But if developers want to take the strain off in-house resources for users and clients, then adopting this updated API may be something they consider.
This may appeal more to businesses that develop their own apps internally but rely on third-party APIs to realise the concepts that they create for software designed to aid employees. But it is another example of how a wealth of innovative APIs can provide inspiration to organisations of all kinds and open up possibilities that were either impractical in the past or had simply not been considered at all.
The usefulness of APIs such as this will vary from project to project, but it is worth keeping an open mind and looking out for innovations in this market to make sure that no opportunities are missed.