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Singly "App Fabric" Platform Helps Developers Deeply Connect To Other Apps So Users Can Connect With All Their Data

By   /  December 11, 2012  /  No Comments

Singly, which has as its mission connecting people more closely with their data everywhere it lives, now is opening up the beta of its development platform to help developers create the apps that can make that happen.

As co-founder and CEO Jason Cavnar describes Singly’s work, “it is an app fabric product” that gives developers a way to build applications without having to worry about making all the different connection points into the other applications they want their products to talk to. “That’s handled as a service for them. Like Amazon Web Services is for the infrastructure layer, we would like to be a trusted partner in the data layer,” he says.

“It’s really about a person’s life and experiences – sharing that wherever it is in other applications into a new one and that new one generating things to share back out,” says fellow co-founder and CTO Jeremie Miller, who invented Jabber/XMPP technologies and was the primary developer of jabberd 1.0, the first XMPP server. APIs are prominent in Singly’s approach to unlocking that data, but Miller sees some parallels between its own mission and that of the semantic web – a concept whose potential he’s always been excited about, he says, but which he doesn’t think has caught on as he’d hoped.

Rather, says Miller, “what’s exciting is if you look at APIs across all the different API providers, that’s most accelerated by JSON itself. JSON [the JavaScript Object Notation lightweight data-interchange format] as a data format lends itself to being more aware of what type of data it is and what’s in the data,” he says. All the different APIs out there are serving back bits of JSON with information about people, on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and so on.

“There is a deep amount of commonality between them. They are not compatible….but the same pattern and the same desire as the semantic web is existing across all these APIs,” he says. Singly’s Data Fabric infrastructure includes data syncing, intelligent indexing, deep data querying, archiving, and instant push data. As Miller explains, Singly has done a lot of normalization work to know what a person is on all the different services, delivering person objects that it calls friends. It leverages common fields – user name, email addresses, etc. – that it pulls into a JSON object for developers to use to contribute to a world where applications and the data in them are not islands. Instead, says Cavnar, “they are rich experiences connected to other apps drawing from data in those apps and sharing that back out to apps.”

The benefit to developers, he says, is that they don’t have to program against different services specifically or uniquely for each one. That saves development time but more importantly, it lets them provide more options for their users without having to do additional work. Singly currently has more than 30 supported services, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Github, LinkedIn, SoundCloud, Rdio, Yammer, FitBit, RunKeeper, and Zeo, and every time it adds another, developers using its platform get the benefit without having to do anything.

Singly provides an App Fabric SDK for friend-finding across networks, web and mobile based authentication to its supported services, and social sharing across networks. Imagine, as an example, a developer that wants to build a restaurant discovery app for people to find dining sites visited by their friends – a feat that would involve collecting data from services like Twitter, Instagram, Yelp and so on, and creating common places and common patterns of who individuals are. Singly handles those connections and the syncing, structuring and communizing fields of data so that developers could support requests by users to see, for instance, only the restaurants that one particular friend has been to in Soho in Manhattan by running such a query against Singly “to get to that data in a meaningful and contextual way without having to do any work,” Miller says.

Current users of its service include sites  TimeHopZeppelinGeeklist, SalesLoft and Farmstand; and partners CloudMine and Firebase. Zeppelin, for example, lets smaller companies coordinate data from multiple sources to see what happened at the company at any given point in time, to see things like customer support interactions or what one team might be sharing on Yammer. Zeppelin uses Singly to talk to all those different authenticated endpoints, pull data down, and respond to queries for summaries of activities at a certain time.

The App Fabric SDK is $99 per month for 1 million users, while the Data Fabric infrastructure price is set on a case-by-case basis determined by the customer’s specific needs around data weaving.


About the author

Jennifer Zaino is a New York-based freelance writer specializing in business and technology journalism. She has been an executive editor at leading technology publications, including InformationWeek, where she spearheaded an award-winning news section, and Network Computing, where she helped develop online content strategies including review exclusives and analyst reports. Her freelance credentials include being a regular contributor of original content to The Semantic Web Blog; acting as a contributing writer to RFID Journal; and serving as executive editor at the Smart Architect Smart Enterprise Exchange group. Her work also has appeared in publications and on web sites including EdTech (K-12 and Higher Ed), Ingram Micro Channel Advisor, The CMO Site, and Federal Computer Week.

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