San Francisco-based Singly launched its App Fabric SDK will in open beta today to help developers streamline their app development process as they increasingly look to create logins, features, or build their entire app based on integrating with other services’ application programming interfaces (APIs). While in private beta the company’s technology was used by more than 250 apps, and it also raised a Series A round of $7 million in April 2012 from Foundry Group, Freestyle Capital, and Venrock among others.
Co-founded by Jason Cavnar and Jeremie Miller, the duo saw the opportunity to solve a major pain point after their own experience developing apps. “As we started building these apps that drew data from other apps we saw a bigger problem which was that as people use more apps, developers were going to face the challenges we were facing in building our own apps,” said Cavnar in an interview with BetaKit. “Things like connecting with the data, syncing with the data, making the data useful, reducing duplications…essentially we’ve gone forward and built a service that lets developers today build apps that connects with other apps so that their user experience can be really powerful.”
The App Fabric software development kit (SDK) helps developers with three key areas including integrated logins, friend-finding, and social sharing by providing a one-stop access point to over 35 other apps including Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, Rdio, and FitBit. While users wouldn’t see Singly as they used apps, its SDK means developers can add social login, for example letting users sign into an app using their Twitter account; follow friends and users from their existing social networks; and simultaneously share content from an app on several of their online accounts.
The other facet of the company’s offering is what the company calls its Data Fabric infrastructure. It’s looking to be the next Amazon Web Services by outsourcing data interfacing, helping developers build apps that allow for better syncing, indexing, and the ability to run more in-depth queries while being able to push instant updates without having to look after the backend.
“As you can imagine given how fast Facebook, Twitter, and these other services change, their APIs change a lot, so we also provide a maintenance layer,” Cavnar added. “Consumers now have something like 72 apps on average…each of the APIs represent the user’s data at a metadata level very differently. We also not only help them tap into it, maintain it, but we also provide services like shaping the data into common patterns.”
Singly’s CTO Miller said if developers were to include friend finding or friend following functionality, they would first have to understand how each service like Facebook, Twitter, or other popular services represent a friend or follower at a metadata level and individually layer in the code in order to do so. Or they could use Singly’s SDK, for which the company charges $99.
The company is part of a growing number of startups providing ‘backend-as-a-service’ (BaaS), however it’s further up the developer stack than companies like Kinvey, Heroku, and Cloudmine, a company Singly partners with, all of which provide both data storage and cloud infrastructure for developers to more rapidly develop and scale their apps. Both Cavnar and Miller believe that the company’s focus on being a streamlined solution will give it an edge as mobile apps become as ubiquitous as web pages, each with their own APIs, and plenty of developers look to sync data and build on user insights.
Having felt the growing pains of indie developers themselves, the company has both the capital and technology to cut the average development cycle, while ensuring that developers can build in APIs easily and for the benefit of users. Now that it’s open to the public Singly’s founders will see if there is as much appetite for connected APIs as they predicted.