Posted on 12-11-2012
API Discovery is becoming an increasingly troubling problem. As an analyst, I see a dizzying amount of APIs each month. When I get asked to find a particular type of API, or group of APIs in a particular industry--it gets difficult to discover a meaningful results to any query.
My options for API discovery historically has been ProgrammableWeb. The OG API Directory.
Today there is a new player on the block, APIhub. APIhub is a fresh attempt at solving the API discovery, with over 13K APIs organized by category, type, protocol, format and security.
API Hub is looking to provide a solution for two distinct groups:
- Developers - Developers need an ecosystem to discover, learn, test and use APIs
- Publishers - Publishers require a platform to publish, manage, engage customers, and monetize APIs
With first release APIhub doesn’t have much out of the gate that is different than ProgrammableWeb, except for a much cleaner layout, search tools that is not cluttered by news, mashups and advertising.
Once you explore APIhub further, you start seeing early signs of deeper features. When you add or claim your API, your given the option to upload a API spec in a Swagger or WADL format, with more formats coming soon. If implemented for all 13K APIs, this could be a powerful discovery engine.
Beyond programmatic discovery I see hints of ranking on the platform. Right now its just 5 star ranking, but have hopes for more sophistication on how developers, publishers and analysts can rank APIs in the future. Allowing consumers to find new and existing APIs in meaningful ways--other than just 5 star ranking or my number of followers and mashups built on an API would be extremeley valuable.
APIhub, marketplace or directory is nothing new. You see folks like APIs.io trying to step up with a directory and startups like Mashape providing a hub of their own, in a similar attempt to create an API marketplace.
I think there are several things that will decide whether APIhub is successful and it will center around their ranking and discovering algorithm, but also their ability to attract API owners to come, claim and enhance their listings. But more importantly can APIhub and Mulesoft get developers to care and participate in curating, ranking and consuming APIs via the new APIhub? Just like the web API movement, developers will make or break APIhub. If it add values to developers worlds, they'll embrace it--if not, APIhub will have hard time staying relevant.
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