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Snap: compose the Web!

Orange Labs innovates with “Snap”, a service that ambitioned to explore the composition of API[1] for mass market.
The service was created with one goal:

“How to save time in some tiresome tasks while discovering new tools, using tools for “non-geeks”

API mashup from a cooking recipe

Snap: an advanced interface for mass market

The main focus of the service is to give to mass market users a tool to simply take advantage of cloud services. This is why a special attention has been taken on the on the usability and the ergonomics of the service to make it accessible by the greatest number.

Our approach is to start a composition from a Web content: a home page, a selection of text, an image, a cooking recipe, an article… they all can be processed by API.

The interface – designed and tested by Orange Labs – is divided into three parts: the first part represents the API composition along with its status; the second illustrates the result of the API call; the last one proposes new actions to extend the composition based on our semantic orchestrator.

This interface appears on the web page currently viewed by the user through a browser add-on.

mashup from lemonde.fr

Snap: a semantic orchestrator for API

Snap does not use an orchestrator on the shelf: semantic processing (based on an ontology) and orchestration are closely interlinked and required an ad hoc development. Thanks to this approach, SNAP can propose APIs compatible one with each other all along the composition. Moreover, the orchestrator can be able to substitute APIs with semantically equivalent ones in case, for example, of service discontinuity.

Snap

With Snap, Orange proposes a platform through which users and API providers meet thanks to APIs composition. This B2B2C [2] position could popularize dispersed API and create value by tailor-made compositions.

It was time to unleash the power of APIs !

 

[1] API : Application Programming Interface
[2] Business to Business to Consumer

 

Research blog

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The team regularly publishes articles at conferences. To learn more about how Snap (formerly known as the “Biologeek”) works, few scientific articles are available:

More about us on snap.orange-labs.fr.

Ecosystem:

 

Orange Labs is a longtime player in the service composition domain. Many works have been published in collaborative projects in recent years. Current studies are based primarily on:

  • modeling techniques developed during the IST Spice collaborative project;
  • the semantic background initiated by the European project Celtic-Servery.

The API ecosystem grew massively and encouraged to develop applications and mashups through many hackathons: the first API convention took place in 2014, organized by programmableWeb : “APIcon | 2014”.

Popular services that offer real composition of services (pipes, temboo, etc.) are clearly for developers. For mass market, some services are successful (ifttt, zapier, etc.) but they only offer simple compositions and do not go beyond two components: a trigger and an action.