Introducing the SimpleDAM Digital Asset Management Open Source API Protocol

SimpleDAMEarlier this week, we launched the SimpleDAM an open source API protocol for interoperability between Digital Asset Management solutions and the technologies that integrate with them.  I have written a longer article about this which you can read in our features section:

Standards and interoperability protocols have been talked about for decades in DAM. Countless people have repeated the line about what an important development it would be for the long-term sustainability of the industry, but no one has actually done anything practical in terms of a protocol you can use. Long-term DAM News readers will no doubt be aware that ‘the leadership’ of the DAM market tend to say very little about this issue. Whether this is because they don’t care, don’t know (or possibly both) is a question that others can ask of them.  Having grown tired of waiting for the DAM market to do something about an issue which poses an existential threat to itself, we have decided to take matters into our own hands and have developed an API protocol called ‘SimpleDAM’. This is a very basic REST-based API standard which defines some core common features which nearly all DAM systems offer.” [Read More]

The article gives the full details, but in essence SimpleDAM is a description of standard API calls which can be used  by different DAMs to exchange data.  The big issue with interoperability in DAM is less to do with exchanging assets between DAMs (although that is still a problem) and it is more when it comes to third party tools.

If you market a product which DAMs can integrate with, for example, print templating, artwork annotation, video production, creative tools integration, Generative AI, workflow etc. then to get complete coverage, it would be necessary to develop a unique connector for every single DAM in existence.  Clearly this is impractical so what happens now is that tool vendors have to take bets on which products they think will cover a decent proportion of the potential market for their solution.  Given that no single DAM vendor controls much more than about 2-3% of the market, this means a lot of connectors and a lot of opportunity cost resulting from those that were missed.

Similarly, on the vendor side, it means having to choose partners very carefully (especially in view of the risk that a particular tool may not subsequently meet customer needs).  On top of this, there is the necessity to have to fund custom integration work both in-house and potentially also with the tool vendor themselves.  This is an expensive, time-consuming mess and it primarily stems from the fact that there are no interoperability standards in DAM because the industry has been unable to organise itself to set them up.

Well, now there is an API standard because we here at DAM News have just developed it.  To demonstrate this, we have built a very basic API-First DAM that uses SimpleDAM API calls exclusively.  You can see this in-action here:   The full API docs are here:

See the main article for more links, including how to get the source code and a SimpleDAM Google group you can join to participate in discussions about it.

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