LinkedIn API Platform and the Evolution of the API

LinkedIn refreshed its developer platform recently, updating its RESTful API and JavaScript API.

A noticeable change, was its continued evolution towards a more plug and play API environment.

When you visit the LinkedIn developers area, the first option on the menu is plug-ins, and the main page is totally dominated by embeddable profile tools.

The RESTful API and Javascript API are only accessible off a single menu option, the community has a clear focus on courting non-developer LinkedIn users.

With the rise in popularity of RESTful APIs and JavaScript, we are seeing a explosion in widgets, embeds, plug-ins and other copy / paste code that any tech savvy user can deploy.

Attracting the developer community to new APIs can be tough. Programmers tend to be drawn to exciting, new, and shiny APIs that provide challenges and new opportunities. The business and professional focus of LinkedIn doesn't quite put the "shiny" in API.

LinkedIn shows an understanding of its user base, and the best way to provide API tools that these tech savvy users can copy and paste on their web site, social networks, and other applications.