Three kinds of platforms you meet on the Internet - in Mike's words
Please read this insanely useful article written by Mike Anderson.
Mike has described 3 kinds of platforms for web services.
Level 3 platform is the most difficult to build by the platform-provider and is very easy to integrate and use from an end-user’s-perspective. While, Level 1 platform is easiest to build by the platform-provider and difficult to integrate from an end-user’s-perspective. Most people build level-1 platforms – like whenever you see the work “API” it actually means a Level 1 platform. Exception is Facebook and Ning, which are building a Level-2 and Level-3 API respectively. Level 3 is really an API nirvana, and requires very good architectural planning from the platform-provider side. I can imagine some API evolving from a Level 1 to a Level 3; but there aren’t any examples of such APIs; also the code written for Level 1 API, will probably be difficult to use in Level 3, unless there is again some very good architectural planning.A must read for anybody who codes!