Open Building Blocks for an API
04 Apr 2011When deploying an API, the interface is just the beginning. You need tools and resources to support the API. There are common building blocks that are used by many existing APIs, such as documentation, forums, code samples and other tools developers have come to expect from APIs. When selecting which building blocks to use for an API area, there are many things to consider. There are many opinions on which are essential, and this can vary from industry to industry. One thing everyone agrees is that metrics and analytics for an API are a must have. Beyond the common building blocks, many API owners are providing new innovative tools such as: Apigee, Mashery, or 3Scale. These providers have a lot of experience, tools and services you can access to plan, develop, deploy, and manage your API. Even with the growth in the number of available APIs, and the number of service providers I do not see much in the way of open-source API building blocks available on the market yet. We need more innovation around development of open API building blocks. Think what Wordpress has done for blogging, and Heroku has done for cloud computing. The availablility of open API building blocks delivering the common, innovative and essential tools needed for APIs, would give a much needed boost to the entire industry. There is a lot of learning, exploration and trial and error to occur within the API space. Leaving this to occur within the hands of a few API service provider, or following the lead of major API players like Twitter and Google limits the opportunities for everybody involved. I would like to see more discussion and collaboration around building a community of open source API build blocks this year.