As we continue to stress over all the news of API ecosystem battles, and how APIs owners are evil, and once a business grows up, it has to choose between being a hobby developer platform or real grown up business--let’s remember the web API pioneers.
Salesforce, eBay and Amazon are all three going strong, making money, treating developers as part of the equation and continue to operate legitimate business via APIs for over a decade now. These three API pioneers set the stage for the API industry during the first “dot com bubble” in 2000 and Amazon in 2002, and 10 years later still proving you can become an Internet powerhouse with the help of your API developer ecosystem.
API skeptics always step up and say they are different, that they have core web products, existing business models, etc. Sure, there are differences, but Salesforce, eBay and Amazon have all managed to achieve success with continued investment in their API ecosystem. None of these platforms have had to restrict or shed their developers to make ends meet, once the utopian API early days are over.
When I read comments, tweets and other noise from people about what fools developers are for depending on an API, I stop and think about these API pioneers. Developing a large, healthy API ecosystem is not easy--but when you see your API as an essential part of your core platform, and give it the necessary resources, you can strike the harmonious balance necessary to make APIs work.