What If APIs Should Be Finding Developers Instead of Developers Discovering APIs?
10 Sep 2012
I was spending time thinking about API discovery methodologies this afternoon (I know...I have issues), but with ProgrammableWeb approaching 8K public APIs, its a very real problem.
Currently, as an application developer, when I have an idea, I start by sketching what I want to build and set out to find all of the resources I will need to make it a reality. I pick my platform of choice and then set out to find other API resources I will need to bring my app to life.
I will need a database, user management and some analytics for my back-end, selecting a Backend as a Service (BaaS) provider like CloudMine or Kinvey. Next I need authentication and social integration with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn using Singly. After this I will have to piece together my application from a variety of individual APIs like Twilio, Urban Airship, Iron.io and many other APIs.
What if we flipped this on its head and reversed the process? As an application developer, I could publish a list of resources I need for my web or mobile app, and APIs could find me. I could just publish my need for image storage, facial recognition, location and other resources and API providers could find me.
It’s just a brain exercise to see if I’m missing anything. Maybe the problem we need to solve isn’t API discovery, it’s application discovery? Enable APIs to find developers, in addition to developers finding APIs.