CHENNAI: Sravish Sridhar, founder, Kinvey, has more than one reason to visit his hometown Chennai. His US-based startup, which offers a mobile development platform, is looking to expand its presence in India. “Many developers are aspiring entrepreneurs. They begin tinkering with technology in their free time and go on to set up startups,” he said.
The developer ecosystem in India is beginning to draw attention from startups and large corporates alike. Startups like Hasura, Hansel.io, DigitalOcean and Kinvey are offering platforms and tools. Corporates like Airtel and Google are exposing APIs (application programming interface) or building blocks for creation of apps. The government is also taking keen interest. With three million software developers in the country, analysts expect India to surpass the US by 2018 and it is a matter of time before the developer ecosystem in India rises.
For instance, Hasura supports developer teams in corporates like NAC Jewellers, ITC and Glassic.
And it’s not just Indian startups that are seeing the potential. US-based DigitalOcean, which is a cloud infrastructure provider set up a data centre in Bengaluru this year, is focussing on community engagement through meet-ups and hackathons for developers. The company is on the verge of launching its Chennai chapter for developer meet-ups in the city.
“In the US/Singapore, community is encouraged by frequent informal high quality meet-ups, focussing on niche topics. A community is created only when the topic is niche, and the crowds are small and genuinely interested. In India, the focus is on large flashy events. Foreign companies focussing on developers in India, such as Digital Ocean, Google or AWS are starting to create this kind of an ecosystem in India,” said Anand Rajkumar, CFO at Hasura.
What is largely contributing to making life easier for developers is the rise of the API (application programming interface) economy. APIs are a key part of software development to build for a specific platform, such as Microsoft Windows.
Now, newer platform providers, from Salesforce to Facebook and Google, are offering APIs. A quick look at programmableweb.com shows over 16,000 APIs in its directory across sectors from bank IFSC codes to Zomato food guide, real time train information, pincodes to maps from mapmyindia.
The Government of India (GoI) is also on a mission to create the world’s largest developer ecosystem. IndiaStack is a set of APIs that allows governments, businesses, startups and developers to utilise a digital Infrastructure to solve India’s problems towards presence-less, paperless, and cashless service delivery.
“The GoI through its open API policy is enabling startups to solve India’s hard problems. India Stack is one such initiative which offers developers Aadhaar Authentication, eKYC, eSign, UPI, Digital Locker as open APIs to build innovative solutions. To give you a sense of scale, Aadhaar Auth API alone has completed 3 billion n hits of 500M unique IDs and we are just getting started,” said Nikhil Kumar, fellow, IndiaStack and iSPIRT Foundation.