API Tools & Service Providers

When I review a new API, I take a look at the technology they provide, but I tend to focus on the business of their API.

One area I look at, is what tools they use to deliver the building blocks that make up their API. Did they build it themselves? Did they use Mashery, Apigee or 3Scale? Are they using other open-source tools or a software as a service (SaaS) provider?

I'm always on the look out for new open-source tools or services providers that can be leveraged for APIs in this way. My goal is to find an open-source solution or service provider for each one of the building blocks I have defined. Some examples are:

I like to have an open-source tool available for each building block, but having a solid company that can deliver specialized services for a API, and have them up and running instantly is even better.

Some characteristics I look for in a service provider are:

  • Self-service - Instant registration and activation of services.
  • Branding - The ability to brand and make look like your API area.
  • Tiered Pricing - A pay as you go model allowing small companies to try out first, then grow as needed.
  • DNS - Ability to point subdomain at service, to keep with a single company domain.
  • Support - Quality support from self-service forum to someone you can talk to.
  • Focus - Delivering a high quality service ina single area, and not trying to be everything to everyone.
  • Data Portability - The ability to take ALL of your data with you when you are ready to leave is critical.
These are just a few of the key strengths I look for when finding API tool and service providers.

As an example, take a look at AppStores.com, they have almost everything I look for in a building block service provider. They are still working on the self-service and tiered pricing aspects, but its at least on their roadmap.

Do you have any open-source tools or software as a service providers that you use to deliver your API?