Posted on 06-15-2014
Netflix officially announced they will be ending support for their public API. Its no surprise, as they announced early in 2013 that they would longer accept new registrations for the API.
While I think that Netflix could have put more resources into their API, and fought harder to make their public API a success, I still consider Netflix to be one of API pioneers that we can learn from when crafting our own API strategy.
While the public Netflix API was not a success, the internal and partner API strategy at Netflix was a success. APIs have allowed the company to scale into the cloud, grow internationally, and expand to sever over 1000 devices via their trusted partner network.
In addition to the internal API success at Netflix, they have been amazing at sharing their knowledge and experience with the wider API community via their blog, conferences like API Strategy & Practice, and in books like APIs: A Strategy Guide, available on O'Reilly Publishing, written by Daniel Jacobsen, Greg Brail and Dan Woods.
Another positive byproduct of Netflix API operation, is that the company has been prolific in open sourcing the technology that goes into the API stack. When you visit the Netflix Github account, you will find a wealth of open tooling that they have worked hard on, and opened up for public use.
API success varies widely from company to company, sector to sector, and it doesn't always look like you think it will—this is part of the API experience. Just because Netflix doesn't reflect one vision of API success that open developers believed in, it doesn't mean Netflix as a whole was an API failure. There are plenty of lessons to learn from their public API failure, as well as their internal API success.
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