A Smarter Way to Move Information: APIs Explained With Shipping Containers

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

"Information is still being shipped around break bulk. I mean, it's a mess!" Peter Lucas, founder of Pittsburgh design firm MAYA, says; "There are like 53 different protocols and there's one that we use for email, and there's another one we use for web pages, and there's another one we use for email when it's coming in the other direction. It just goes on and on!" In the short video below, Lucas makes the case for standardizing the transfer of information using a clever analogy: containerization.

The relationship between shippers and carriers is like an API, the "public part of a reusable piece of code" that allows different systems to interact, he explains. Ideally, the "containerization" of information would allow complex systems of information to scale better -- the way worldwide shipping exploded with the advent of standardized shipping containers. MAYA produced this video to promote Trillions, a book about the future of information by Lucas, co-founder Joe Ballay, and CEO Mickey McManus.

For more videos related to MAYA's Trillions, visit their website

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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/10/a-smarter-way-to-move-information-apis-explained-with-shipping-containers/263724/