Hyperfiddle's Data Gravity, take 2
Today if you want to integrate with an external service what do you do?
You hope they offer an API, and your programmers integrate your software with it.
APIs are all different, never good, always buggy, usually old and sometimes ancient, they reflect the bureaucracies that built them. Costs you a lot of overhead to integrate, multiplied by number of companies you need to integrate with.
Cost scales superlinear with number of integrations. This is why healthcare.gov costs a billion dollars.
How do you fix this? All the APIs need to be the same. Integrate it once, reuse everywhere.
Consider your internal company systems. They’re all the same. Any team can easily coordinate with any other team because they make the same technology decisions. That’s how Walmart’s supply chain works. The whole system of systems is uniform.
How can we make all the bureaucracies in the world standardize? Impossible, right?
No, it’s happened before, several times.
Internet. Want to add your own server? Plug it in. Standardized on TCP, IP, UDP.
World wide web. Want to add a website? Just do it. Don’t need to coordinate with anyone else or ask for permission. Standardized on HTTP, HTML.
How did these standards come about? Network effects.
But how do you get people to use yet another network?
Facebook did it. Facebook offered something it turns out people really want, so instead of everyone making their own geocities page, now you just make a facebook page. Its all the same tech, so you get a lot of stuff for free. Security. Search. Interacting with other people is really easy. It’s really just a network effect. Networks have gravity.
To standardize all the APIs in the world, you need to build a network, and then the network has gravity, and if the gravity is strong enough, 10 years later, boom! even your parents and the government are using it.
Hyperfiddle is the network where your data is. It’s the only API you need. How can APIs be a network? APIs are interconnected. Your email address is a unique ID across hundreds of systems. Your personal data is replicated across all your healthcare service providers. Your primary care physician, and your old one. A couple hospitals. Your dentist. Insurance companies. Employer. Obamacare’s database. The IRS and thus TurboTax.
If it was all in-network, integrating once gives you access to everything. And the more data in there, the more valuable it becomes. There exists a critical threshold at which, enough data is unified, that inevitably and over time, the rest of the world’s data will get sucked in too.
The problem is bootstrapping the network. This is what none of the semantic web and distributed web folks have figured out how to do.
Hyperfiddle is an app builder. It is a technology breakthrough based on recent advances in immutable database technology and functional programming. It works great as a standalone tool; think Google Docs for databases. But all the apps it builds have a uniform interface. Any app in the network has built-in access to all in-network data.
Is there some data out there you need for your app? The easiest way to integrate with it is to be part of the network. Gravity.