Posted on 08-08-2014
A blog is such a simple thing, but when it comes to the world of APIs, it can be one of the most important signals for whether or not an API is worthy of integration, or you should just move on and continue looking for another API to use. I know many folks will dismiss that a blog is so relevant, especially if they are coming from IT or developer disciplines--I respectfully decline.
In reality, a blog not only provides a great way to keep API consumers up to date, it also provides the essential human face to any API operation. An API’s blog provides a regular flow of information that show there is someone behind the curtain, who is not just working on the API, but actively is contributing ideas to the API community, and is there to support.
A blog is the number one signal for me when evaluating the quality of an API. I track on whether an API has a blog, how of the blog is updated, and how long since the last post. Using these signals, it is pretty easy to tell when a public API is getting the resources it needs, and when the support for a public API is losing steam within a company.
Here is an example of this in action—back in April I commented on the ESPN API:
It is sad that the last ESPN "API-focused musings and ramblings" was 1 year ago ;-( http://t.co/sMWDoFtacJ >> I prefer them more often— Kin Lane (@kinlane) April 16, 2014
Sure enough, four short months later, ESPN announces they are shutting down their public APIs. The existence of a blog for your API shows that you care about with your API community, regular blog posts show that you are thinking about your API community regularly and want to share stories with them, and when your blog goes silent, it speaks volumes about what is going on behind the curtain--run for the hills!
What does your blog say about your API? Storytelling via a blog can be one of the most powerful tools in your API management toolbox, but be careful an inactive API blog can quickly become the canary in the coal mine when it comes to imminent demise of a public API.
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