As part of an innovation competition, three EPITA students will travel to California, from June 2 to 8 in order to develop their plans for new computer language. Interview with Thibaud Arnault (EPITA Class of 2012), the project leader.
Thibaud Arnault, Arnaud Richard & Tibor Vass, three students in their fifth year of the major Media and Information Technology (MTI) and Mehdi Medjaoui (INSA Lyon) will travel to Silicon Valley early June. After winning second prize in Innovact Campus Awards, Webshell was selected to join the French Tech Tour, which consists of a series of appointments with companies in Silicon Valley and coaching while in the US by Ubifrance, San Francisco.
Webshell is an open innovation and communication project (PLIC). It is the development of a new computer language facilitating the development of web and mobile applications from existing APIs (application programming interface allowing interaction programs with each other). At stake: time saving and ease of implementation!
Why has your project been rewarded?
We have an innovative patented technology, a complementary team, a recognition by a public incubator and a good educational presentation in which we were able to understand both the technological and commercial issues and show our motivation to create our company. After deliberation, the jury found that our project was worthy of winning amongst the 150 submissions and we thank them. These awards mean to us a real appreciation and provide further motivation: we could see the other projects that competed for Innovact Campus Awards, many were very innovative and high levels. Finally, the French Tech Tour allows us to take our first steps into the Silicon Valley.
What is Webshell?
The idea is to create a powerful language for querying any Web service in the same manner and to make available the language through a very simple service. In our jargon, we call Web APIs such service. With API, sites or applications can exchange data and modify their respective information. For example, when a social network asks you for permission to share your data with a third party application, it uses the APIs of the social network. It is expensive for a developer today to use more than three API. Nonetheless there are over 5800 different APIs and that number is growing exponentially. So we need a way to standardize them, make them interoperable, easily and quickly find them. We believe in open innovation brought by the mixture of these services. We call such a mix, a mash-up of API. Our project is to address this issue. We want to implement all language API Webshell collaboratively so that developers can easily make mashups. On our platform, everything is done to create a community of developers and allow API providers to easily reach this community.
What assessment and what future does there exist for Webshell?
Today, we are still in private beta and we have already over 150 registered developers on the platform. The early returns are good and the users come back! We do everything we can to deliver the best possible navigation. We will have more returns in the coming weeks. We intend to improve the tools around APIs to become the reference on APIs. We will also organize hackathons with partners to publicize Webshell to more developers. Finally, we intend to be more active on the forums, and various networks. We seek also a passionate community manager. We will export the French technology to Silicon Valley, while continuing to develop partnerships with companies in France.