As you probably know already, Connect is our internal social network. It’s been around a while, and we’ll soon be launching a UI redesign, as teased late last Summer.
In the 18 months since we launched Connect, we’ve accumulated quite a bit of social data about people: their profiles, avatars, work experience, personal interests, and their connections. Connect has become the profile system for Oracle.
This is as we expected, being first certainly helped, and we’ve taken the next step: providing the data via API for other systems to consume. One of the most common questions I’ve been getting recently is how can I integrate with Connect’s profiles and network data?
So, we took a page out of the consumer web’s playbook, and Rich created APIs. The good news here is that because of the inherent trust level we have inside the firewall (i.e. we all work for Oracle) and the flipside of that coin, the ability to punish people who break the rules of acceptable use (i.e. the protection of HR, Legal and Security), we can get real data portability.
One of the few areas where enterprise pwns consumer web.
So, when we talk to people who want to use our APIs to pull profile and network data out of Connect, it’s easy enough to ask them to agree that Connect is the single source for that data. It’s not a competitive situation; the motives of the consumer web aren’t (or shouldn’t be) present.
No venture capital wagered, no shareholders to please, no employees to pay, no advertisers to please. You get the picture.
Noel has already uptaken the Connect API to allow people to use their Connect profile avatars in OraTweet. He and Rich have some cool ideas up their sleeves on other ways to integrate Connect and OraTweet. Clayton Donley is also using the Connect APIs to do some really fantastic work too; you’ll have to wait until later in the week to hear exactly what.
There are a handful of other teams/projects within Oracle that are interested in the Connect APIs. I’m hoping to get an AIR app built by a friend of the ‘Lab in EMEA too. All this goodness comes from the APIs.
The really great news is that we’re not the only ones adding APIs.
I touched on Rich and Noel’s integration of OraTweet with Connect’s activity log and status already. We’ll soon be adding the ability to cross-post your status update from Connect to OraTweet. All this is thanks to Noel’s OraTweet API; he’s also got an OraTweet client buddy (Windows only though) and plans for an AIR app too.
Noel integrates with APIs of two other internal apps too, as will Clayton. This is all good news and a signal that people see value and want to enhance it. Plus, we’ve also found a way to identify and collaborate loosely with other hackers inside the company, people who want to build something cool.
All good news, all the time.
By the way, expect to see more Connect+OraTweet news because we’ll soon be hosting Noel’s pet project on our servers. He’s outgrown the server under his desk as more people use OraTweet everyday.
Any thoughts on this commingling of services via APIs? Does your company have a similar grassroots movement underway?
Find the comments.
Update: As Matt pointed out via email, the Connect APIs aren’t documented anywhere. So, you’ll want to drop us a note or hit us up over OraTweet for details.