API Strategy & Roadmap

Posted By: Scott Lowrie

Looking back, only for moment…

Almost a year ago to the day, Fellowship Technologies deployed the Fellowship One REST API into production. We were excited to achieve this milestone since it represented months of dedicated work by our development team. Since then committed developers, vendors, and our own staff have come together to form a Community dedicated to bring solutions to the church world. I am encouraged and edified by the fantastic work that has been accomplished. Good work!

If you cook it, then you better be prepared to eat it…

We believe that the best way to prove our API can accomplish what others need it to accomplish is to use it ourselves. No… I am not talking about for just some things like a mobile app that does this, or a CMS shared login, or vendor solution integration. I am talking about using our own API for the majority of our mainline product development. We call it eating our own dog food. (The good juicy kind!) If we build an API that is comprehensive, hearty, and reliable enough to support the production code of thousands of users and millions of calls every day; then simple logic leads us to the conclusion that it will serve the greater Community’s API needs.

Strategy is for generals, we’re in the trenches…

Hang on! We really believe we’re on to something. If we are going to consume our own API for most everything we develop moving forward, then we better have an API to consume or we won’t be developing our own end-user solutions. Something about a cart and horse, which must come first? Well, we are going to make the API the horse. Our goal is to make the API production available ready to the Community at the same time or before our own end-user application solutions.

Be honest, can you convert vision into reality?

Most likely in September of this year, we will production deploy a Remote Deposit Capture solution for our Fellowship One Enterprise customers. Remote Deposit Capture will enable churches to process checks from a high speed scanner and post contributions into Fellowship One. Care to take a guess how we built this feature? Bingo! Yes, we built a Giving Realm for the REST API, and developed the entire solution consuming our own API. Does this mean Fellowship One now has a Giving API? Well, yes again.

Dog food is suddenly appealing, can we try some?

We are just asking that you give us a few more weeks to test, and then we will provide the Community access to the new Giving Realm API. In this first iteration we have resourced the data that allows inserting, editing, and retrieving individual contributions. I hope the Community’s creativity is positively challenged to conceive inventive solutions with the Giving resources, especially when used in conjunction with the existing People Realm API. Got some ideas already? Share them with the Community!

Two requests please, foot on the gas and rev up the RPMs…

We believe the patterns are solid now that two API realms have been established. Our next development user story is to develop an API auto-generation framework. Feed the auto-generation framework a data model on one end and API resources come out the other. Hmmm, sounds like RESTful sausage. Based on Community requests (and our own mainline development needs) our goal is to whip up a plate of Groups resources for an API consumer feast before the end of 2010.

What’s for dessert?

What would you like?

Scott Lowrie joined Fellowship Technologies in 2004, and has served as the Director of Product Management for the past three years. He enjoys turning shared ideas into workable solutions.

Posted In: API, News,

Tracy Mazelin said: on August 17, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Thanks - great post.  A Groups API would be awesome!

Chris Pope said: on August 17, 2010 at 06:29 PM

Awesome strategy guys, don’t make me eat something you wouldn’t!  Could I encourage you to open up the attendance, participant assignments et. al to provide access into check-in systems.  The current check-in product might work brilliantly in the USA but suffers extremely when you are overseas.

Jonathan Ott said: on August 18, 2010 at 07:03 PM

Looks great! We can’t wait to see full API for Groups, attendance, check-in, attributes, and assignments. You’re on a great course!

Tim Elsbrushy said: on August 20, 2010 at 02:43 PM

That’s great!  Will you be doing an API with the City?

Scott Lowrie said: on August 22, 2010 at 02:34 PM

In response to Chris Pope…

Yes, we intend to open up Event (Activity) API resources in the near future, most likely in Q1 2010 (EDIT: 2011).

Scott Lowrie said: on August 22, 2010 at 06:47 PM

In response to Tim Elsbrushy:

Fellowship Technologies is open to requests to integrate with other company’s solutions.

Isaac Castillo said: on August 23, 2010 at 08:13 AM

I went to the f1 conference and you guys had some dates for different api releases. do you guys have that posted somewhere on this blog?

has there been any other api releases since the first one?

Scott Lowrie said: on August 25, 2010 at 12:26 PM

In response to Issac Castillo:

Some Giving API resources will be available next; most likely released in October 2010.

Group API resources are planned for development; most likely released before the end of the year 2010.

Event (Activity) API resources, most likely released in Q1 2010.

Isaac Castillo said: on August 25, 2010 at 09:03 PM

on event you mean 2011 correct?

Scott Lowrie said: on August 25, 2010 at 09:49 PM

YES,  Events Q1 2011. (sorry for the typo)

Isaac Castillo said: on August 27, 2010 at 11:16 AM

thanks Scott!

Ryan Mauer said: on October 4, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Are you still planning to release the Giving API sometime later this month?

Isaac Castillo said: on February 24, 2011 at 11:11 AM

any word? on any of the timelines? are the api release dates published somewhere? has groups been released yet?

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