Lest One Think that API’s are Unimportant….

Bringing an API to market (where none existed prior) should be considered an important undertaking in the EDI Comms universe. Anyone in this business knows that our comms solutions have been stagnant – stalled at uploading files to send, and downloading received files from your “inbox”. I will address the As2 conundrum in another article. But, for the large universe of VAN connected trading parties, some 400K+ businesses, communications have stalled, and it’s not technology holding up the EDI Bus, it’s a lack of imagination.

The market has not even attempted to approach the reliability and ubiquity of common electronic mail systems, and the idea that end-users or professional service providers might gain actual control over their EDI Network configuration (mailboxes, user credentials, reporting, status, etc.) via closely-bound, programmatic controls – that idea is lost on 99.9% of the EDI comms provider market – after all, what do you need that for? If you wanna create mailboxes, just pull yer swivel chair over here to this web browser, and click here to make a new mailbox. It wonderful ! Not !

Check message status? Check the web interface. Anything, check this, call support, and so on, The idea that we (royal EDI industry we) would be enthusiastic about having gaggles of entrepreneurial programmers pinging fragile messaging systems – well, you get the idea. No progress, no code binding EDI Comms to your next-gen B2B systems, no direct control, no ownership. Such sickly stasis and stagnation, when the entire Internet Application economy, mobile apps, APIs, Big Data, and ANYTHING as a SERVICE – makes new millionaires daily. The state of entrepreneurship in the EDI market is not what it could be.

But we are trying, by offering the best API platform, 150+ Web Services functions for creating EDI networks, and by offering free developer accounts and flexible terms to give new developers room to grow – what more could Loren Data Corp do for the market?

I’m glad you asked: Todd Gould, President of Loren Data Corp, initiated a Sherman Act Antitrust Lawsuit against the EDI sector’s most toxic monopolist. The GXS gambit to impede Loren Data Corp, the industry’s only Communications API provider, is a strike against fair competition and innovation. Loren Data Corp is fighting back, while innovating in the midst of battle. I would also be remiss to omit the fact that the company is gaining support for its antitrust battle –   mere “tea and sympathy” has become modest material support.  The company could use more help, though, all you free market advocates ! Drop Todd a line.

End users have it tough – the means of their supply chain comms are sternly dictated.  “Top Down Hub Power” has a “blood cost” – and mid market solutions that promised to drive costs down for many EDI neophyte companies, hubs and spokes alike (or hubs that are spokes and spokes that are hubs), have not have not surfaced in a big way. As the Title of this Article suggests, APIs, and a platform orientation in general, will serve this market well by reinvigorating a spirit of innovation. By simply making the mechanics of EDI processing available to more programmers and entrepreneurs….we are seeding a potential renaissance where EDI Communication and trading partner management become native functions of B2B systems, rather then external services that are administered via interfaces that belong to the communications provider. That’s what platforms and API’s do, they allow the consumption of many functions from within a code base or resource.

While the EDI Service Providers of the 1990′s Era innovated web forms for the ultra low end of the supplier community, we need more aggressive price reductions and integration offerings for hosted and managed CLOBs = (Capital Line of Business Systems- ERP, major inventory and warehouse management systems, etc.). We believe that increasingly sophisticated yet easy to invoke API’s will kick off a revolution.

Compared to what I see in today’s Mobile App economy, mobile, etc., we have much work to do in EDI Communications and Network Management. Every application, every B2B SAAS system, every IDE, every PAAS, every software B2B asset should have EDI Comms built in and available.

Todd is furiously adding functions to ECGridOS, making it a true e-commerce operating system. See the bosses update release :

http://www.ld.com/november-2011-notes/

Even Todd’s November update is outdated, and we have new As2 features in the ECGridOS API, which makes Loren Data ECGrid the only EDI Network to offer hosted As2 via API with optional Message Routing via interconnects to VANs and other global systems. ECGrid OS is simply unique:

But, why take my word for how great ECGridOS is for B2B entrepreneurs? Don’t poo poo the concept of API’s being vital to the revitalization of the EDI communication’s economy –  Simply do the following:

  1. Drop an email to awilensky @ LD.com and ask for developer credentials! I will honor as many requests as my hands can admin – (self-service enrollment is coming soon).
  2. Skype me at awilensky  — I am glad to answer any question about the API, the EDI market, the dynamics of networked markets, interconnection politics, etc.
  3. Sign up for our newsletter
  4. Join the ECGrid Developer Forum – THE place where the truly competent B2B integration power people gather!
  5. Check out the excellent API docs site
  6. Here is a good one: Paste the ECGridOS API  WSDL URI into your web browser’s location bar and see ALL the functions of ECGridOS as unpacked WSDL !!! Hey, you can’t get better than that, because you can interactively invoke many of the functions right there! Try it, don’t be shy: https://ecgridos.net/v2.3/prod/ECGridOS.asmx
if You want to get involved in the Loren Data Corp v. GXS Antitrust battle, and strike a blow for competition in our market, call me? If you have an idea for a new EDI Venture and need comms services?  Call me. We can help, we have helped many new ventures get their network services legs since Loren Data Corp was founded in 1987. Some of these have become great names int he business.
API’s are important -because New Ideas are importantCreativity is important, because Programmers are Inherently Creative.
Oh, and one more thing:
The B2B on-demand services market is just getting started. As soon as a few industry messes are put to bed, we shall commence a new era of collaboration with our collegial competitors who believe in platforms and APIs -  this will birth new standards and practical sharing of resources, and hopefully commence the next next EDI revolution .That will be the norm; and then, anyone will  be able to innovate and create value near the speed of thought. I hope.
That’s Loren Data Corp …..True Innovation and the removal of competitive barriers. All Aboard ECGridOS !

 

 

 

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