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An API is a “must have” feature for many tech startus. Mailchimp CEO Ben Chestnut went so far as to write that the company’s API is “probably the best marketing we’ve ever done.” But for some companies an API is more than just marketing, it’s a core part of the business. As more business shifts online, non-technical business people will need to make strategic decisions about technology, including integrations with third-party sites via APIs. More tech companies should try to demystify their offerings.
Online payments company Dwolla is moving in the right direction. Dwolla allows people to make and accept payments online. Unlike PayPal, Dwolla routes around the traditional financial infrastructure. As a result, the company offers a transactions at a lower cost than credit card processing companies. In order to accept Dwolla payments online retailers need to integrate the service into their websites. This can be as simple as pasting in a snippet of HTML, but for more complex shopping cart systems the integration needs to be done via the API. Since Dwolla is targeting practically any type of seller it’s safe to assume that many of its potential customers don’t have a developer on staff dive into the API documentation. Dwolla needs to be able to explain to key decision makers what its service is capable and not bogged down in technical details.
Last week the company relaunched its developers portal to make it more accessible to non-technical people. It’s still at developers.dwolla.com, but it’s now called the Integration Portal. “We kept calling it a ‘dev site’ but we realized that if we really wanted to democratize the site we’d have to call it something else,” says Jordan Lampe, director of communications at Dwolla.
Now when you visit the portal, you’re given a choice of two different versions: one for people who code, and one for people who don’t:
The site then lays out the different ways that businesses can take advantage of Dwolla:
API evangalist Kin Lane praised the move on his blog, writing “While actually integrating with your API might be a technical endeavor, much of the business decision around using your API will most likely be made by a non-developer.”
See the article here: Dwolla Democratizing APIs With New Non-Technical Portal
Skype says that it has a fix in the works for a frightening, but reportedly not widespread, bug that involves users’ private instant messages being shared with other unintended people in their contacts list. The bug was first discussed in Skype’s user forums, and seems to have followed a June 2012 update of the Skype software.
According to a report by Engadget, Skype has confirmed the bug existence and that a fix is in the works. However, the company characterizes the bug as “rare.”
We also reached out to Skype for details. In a statement provided to TechCrunch on the matter, Skype says the following:
“We are aware in rare circumstances IM’s between two contacts could be sent to an unintended third contact. We are rolling out a fix for this issue in the next few days and will notify our users to download an updated version of Skype.”
Here’s how one poster described the problem in the forums:
Skype text messages I received have gone to another contact
I am really surprised and shocked how it has happened. When I did last one Skype upgrade in June 2012 It has become to work very strange. Sometimes when I open chat window with some contact, It lists all latest messages from that person although I have already read them.
Few days ago one friend from my contact list has received few messages I had already received before from other my skype contact. It seemed these messages were sent by me. It is really confusing.
I have no history option in privacy section and cleared all my cookies. How can I protect my privacy?
Others later chimed in, saying the exact same thing had happened to them too, and on Friday, a Skype representative said the company was investigating. Given that many people use Skype not just for personal messaging, but for work-related purposes, even the rare occurrence of such a bug could have wide-reaching impacts.
We’ve reached out to Skype to see if it would provide additional details about the size and scope of the problem, and will update when we hear back.