{"API Evangelist"}

Complimentary APIs For The Oxford Dictionaries API

Many API providers I meet have the "build it and they will come" mentality, thinking that if they build an API, developers will come and use it. It does happen, but many APIs only have so many direct uses, and will have a limited number of resulting implementations. This is one of the reasons I recommend companies do APIs in the first place, to get beyond the obvious and direct implementations, and incentivize entirely new applications that a provider may not have considered.

Developing innovative applications an API provider may not have considered is the primary focus of companies I talk to, but only a handful have begun thinking about the other APIs that are out there that might compliment an API. An example of this is with my friends over at the Oxford Dictionary APIs, where building applicaitons with built-in dictionaries is pretty obvious. However, the complimentary API partnering and usage might not be as obvious, something I'm encouraging their team to think more about.

What are some examples of complimentary APIs for the Oxford Dictionaries API?

These are just a couple examples of how one API could provide complimentary features to other APIs out there. It is important for API providers to be reaching out to other API providers and their communities when evangelizing their own APIs. Sure, you should be incentivizing developers to build applications on top of your APIs, but your definition of "application" should include other APIs that your resources compliment, and enrich the solutions being developed on top their platforms.

For a space where integration and interoperability appears to be priority number one, the API sector is notoriously closed, and many API providers I meet have their blinders on. As an API provider you should always be studying the rest of the API sector, looking for good examples to follow, as well as bad examples to avoid--similar to what I do as the API Evangelist. Along this journey you should also be looking for complimentary APIs to your platform, and vice versa. Think of SendGrid and Twilio as an example--email, SMS, and voice all go together very well, and their communities significantly overlap, providing the makings for a ripe partnership.

What are a couple of existing APIs that your APIs complement? This is your homework assignment for the week! ;-)