The API Evangelist Blog

API Evangelist

Functional APIs

30 Jan 2011

APIs are not just for exchanging of data. They provide much needed functionality for developers and integrators. The functionality of an API can provide shipping costs as the Fedex API does, or provide you with directions from San Francisco, CA to New York, NY as with the Google Maps API. Functional APIs can, as the name suggests, provide much needed functionality to users that might be very costly or impossible for them to implement on their own. If a developer wants to provide the location of a mobile application user, they need to be able to turn the latitude and longitude of the users position into a physical address, city, state and zip code. This would require creating a massive look-up table of latitude, longitude, and addresses. This wouldn't be impossible, but it would be very costly. Functional APIs can save developers time when building their applications by providing needed functionality immediately, cost effectively, and with functionality that would otherwise be impossible without an API. [Read More]


API Evangelist

APIs Power Partner Relationships

30 Jan 2011

Sharing information and services with your partners is vital to your business. With the complexities of businesses' systems and the security of firewalls, this exchange isn't always easy. Defining what resources you should make available to partners and actually making them available can be a costly and time-intensive endeavor. Establishing a definition of what you want to make available to partners can be easily translated into a plan for what services you will offer through your API. Using API standards such as REST and providing API responses in common protocols like XML and JSON, will make it possible for partners to easily work with your APIs, and increase the likelihood that they incorporate into their business operations. You rely on your relationships with your partners to make your business thrive, and often showcase these relationships to the public to emphasize the the strength of your business. Your API Strategy can take this even further. Your partners often will be the number one reason for launching an API, and the number of partners and quality of your partners will contribute to the image your API has with the public and within your developer community. The success of your partnerships via your API can be the difference between simply having an API and having a thriving API ecosystem. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Apis Power Partner Relationships 2

30 Jan 2011

--- published: true layout: post title: 'APIs Power Partner Relationships' image: http://kinlane-productions2.s3.amazonaws.com/human-robot-handshake.jpg --- Sharing information and services with your partners is vital to your business. With the complexities of businesses' systems and the security of firewalls, this exchange isn't always easy. Defining what resources you should make available to partners and actually making them available can be a costly and time-intensive endeavor. Establishing a definition of what you want to make available to partners can be easily translated into a plan for what services you will offer through your API. Using API standards such as REST and providing API responses in common protocols like XML and JSON, will make it possible for partners to easily work with your APIs, and increase the likelihood that they incorporate into their business operations. You rely on your relationships with your partners to make your business thrive, and often showcase these relationships to the public to emphasize the the strength of your business. Your API Strategy can take this even further. Your partners often will be the number one reason for launching an API, and the number of partners and quality of your partners will contribute to the image your API has with the public and within your developer community. The success of your partnerships via your API can be the difference between simply having an API and having a thriving API ecosystem. [Read More]


API Evangelist

API Technology - REST

30 Jan 2011

REST or Representational State Transfer is term that describes a specific approach to delivering an API or web service. REST takes advantage of the same Internet mechanisms that are used to view regular web pages, therefore does not need any special servers or protocols to deliver or view REST APIs. There are different opinions of what is truly REST compliant, and many developers have seem to agree that using existing HTTP mechanisms for your API is considered RESTful, regardless of conforming 100% to REST. REST allows you to take data and functionality available on your web site and make these resources available through a web services, and then return XML or JSON representations of these resources. The reduced complexity of REST makes it more efficient to use in development, and has made it the preferred choice of developers, application architects, and API owners. HTTP, the protocol we use to browse the web, has built in ways to transfer, describe and deliver content to humans. It makes sense to take advantage of this existing infrastructure to deliver data and functionality between applications. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Api Technology Rest 2

30 Jan 2011

--- published: true layout: post title: 'API Technology - REST' image: http://kinlane-productions2.s3.amazonaws.com/restful_large.png --- REST or Representational State Transfer is term that describes a specific approach to delivering an API or web service. REST takes advantage of the same Internet mechanisms that are used to view regular web pages, therefore does not need any special servers or protocols to deliver or view REST APIs. There are different opinions of what is truly REST compliant, and many developers have seem to agree that using existing HTTP mechanisms for your API is considered RESTful, regardless of conforming 100% to REST. REST allows you to take data and functionality available on your web site and make these resources available through a web services, and then return XML or JSON representations of these resources. The reduced complexity of REST makes it more efficient to use in development, and has made it the preferred choice of developers, application architects, and API owners. HTTP, the protocol we use to browse the web, has built in ways to transfer, describe and deliver content to humans. It makes sense to take advantage of this existing infrastructure to deliver data and functionality between applications. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Module Exposes Drupal Resources as RESTful API

29 Jan 2011

A new Drupal module makes use of the Drupal Entity API and then takes information about the entity and delivers it as a Restful Web Service. Features are: RESTful compliant Support for all Drupal entity types Provides create, read, update and delete (CRUD) operations Service endpoints are automatically generated for each entity JSON response format You can download the module on Github, but it is also synchronized to the Drupal.org CVS. This module allows Drupal owners to immediately deliver a RESTful API from their existing Drupal site and can also be used by developers looking to quickly deliver an API can build it using the Drupal platform. [Read More]


API Evangelist

History of APIs - Salesforce.com

28 Jan 2011

February 7th, 2000 Salesforce.com officially launched at the IDG Demo 2000 conference. Salesforce.com launched its enterprise-class, web-based, sales force automation as a "Internet as a service". XML APIs were part of Salesforce.com from day one. Salesforce.com identified that customers needed to share data across their different business applications, and APIs were the way to do this. Marc R. Benioff, chairman and founder of salesforce.com stated,"Salesforce.com is the first solution that truly leverages the Internet to offer the functionality of enterprise-class software at a mere fraction of the cost." Salesforce.com was the first cloud provider to take an enterprise class web application and API and deliver what we know today as Software-as-a-Service. [Read More]


API Evangelist

History of APIs - Facebook Development Platform

28 Jan 2011

On August 15th 2006, Facebook launched its long-awaited development platform and API. Version 1.0 of the Facebook Development Platformallowed developers access to Facebook friends, photos, events, and profile information for Facebook. The API used a Restful protocol and responses were in an XML format. Almost immediately, developers began to build social applications, games, and mashups with the new development tools. The Facebook Development Platform gave Facebook an edge over then popular competitor MySpace, and established itself as the top social gaming platform with games like Farmville. [Read More]


API Evangelist

History of APIs - Amazon E-Commerce

28 Jan 2011

On July 16, 2002, Amazon launched Amazon.com Web Services allowing developers to incorporate Amazon.com content and features into their own web sites. Amazon.com Web Services (AWS) allowed third party sites to search and display products from Amazon.com. Product data was made accessible using XML and SOAP. From day one the API was integrated with the Amazon.com Affiliate Program, allowing developers to monetize their sites through purchases made at Amazon.com via links from their web sites. Internet visionary Tim O'Reilly was quoted in original Amazon Web Services press release saying, "This is a significant leap forward in the next-generation programmable internet." APIs and Amazon both have roots in e-commerce, but APIs were quickly applied to other areas resulting in the social media, cloud computing and now the mobile technology movements. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Flattr - API Launch

28 Jan 2011

Flattr the social micro-payment site, made their API public today. The API comes in two flavors. Javascript API REST API Flattr provides application registration and authentication with oAuth. They also have a Flattr developers forum to support the community. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Data APIs

27 Jan 2011

A common reason for deploying an API is to share data with users outside of your organization. You need to make information accessible to partners or general public, but in a way that's self-service so you can avoid emailing a spreadsheet every time someone asks for something. You do this with a data API. Data APIs can: Provide an list of names and addresses for your upcoming event. Deliver news to web sites and mobile phone in real-time. Deliver products such as books from Amazon.com to other smaller, specialty web sites just focusing on cookbooks. Delivers census data from the federal government about who lives in your state to your local unemployment office. A data API is proving to be the easiest way to exchange information -- whether it's between businesses, between the government and the public, or between your Facebook profile and your mobile phone. Web, desktop, and mobile applications are all being developed to depend on data from various private and public APIs. These data APIs are launched to satisfy our growing appetite for real-time information and updates on a daily basis. [Read More]


API Evangelist

API Technology - JSON

27 Jan 2011

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a way for programs to exchange information. It is very similar to XML (Extensible Markup Language). APIs are are way for programs to communicate and since they don't have voices, they need a way to describe things. APIs use JSON to describe information. A JSON transmission describing me might look like: JSON uses brackets, quotes, colons and commas to separate data, and give the information meaningful structure. It allows computers to tell the difference between my first name and last name or any other information that describes me. The protocol sketched above is really just an approximation of what JSON does. After all, it is meant for computers and not humans, JSON has become one of the preferred methods for programmers to use for API communication. It's a light weight, simple way to exchange data across the Internet while still maintaining the structure and meaning of that data. [Read More]


API Evangelist

What is an API?

26 Jan 2011

An Application Programming Interface (API) is a way for websites, programs, and mobile applications to talk to each other. APIs allow access to information, provide functionality or control electronic gadgets. Companies develop APIs to allow partners and other developers access their information, services and hardware. APIs come in many shapes and size. The most common type of API today is known as REST. REST works just like any other web site on the Internet. Whereas people interact with computers via programs, websites, and mobile applications, those programs, web sites, and mobile applications interact with each other via APIs. Every time you use your credit card, an API is used. When you visit a website, it often gets information and delivers its functionality through APIs, such as the latest articles from NY Times. Mobile apps on your phone use APIs. APIs are all around you. You just don't see them. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Managing API Code Projects & Libraries

26 Jan 2011

Having a framework for managing your API code samples and libraries is essential to providing partners and developers with relevant, useful and functional code they can use to integrate with your API. First start by breaking down your code into relevant projects that address specific types of integration with your API. Within each project you can create an appropriate title and description and set some goals for the project. Then build your code samples that satisfy the project goals. After organizing and documenting all code samples, publish them to: GIT - Github is a git based repository service and social coding service. SVN - Google Project Hosting is an SVN or Subversion based repository service. They also provider Mercurial repositories. Both GitHub and Google Project Hosting provide methods for you to manage your code in two popular version control formats. This will allow API developers and partners to quickly check out code repositories, stay current with updates, and even contribute back to your API code projects. Publishing your code to GitHub and Google Project hosting will also provide added marketing benefits to your API community, by extending its reach beyond your domain into existing popular social code communities and the open Internet. Make sure and spend time to choose the proper open source licensing model for your code projects. Now you have a solid process for managing all your API code that makes them accessible in popular developer communities, your API area, and widely available on the open Internet. [Read More]


API Evangelist

History of APIs - Twitter

26 Jan 2011

On September 20, 2006 Twitter introduced the Twitter API to the world. Much like the release of the eBay API, Twitter's API release was in response to the growing usage of Twitter by those scraping the site or creating rogue APIs. Twitter exposed the Twitter API via a Restful interface using JSON and XML. In the beginning, Twitter used Basic Auth for API authentication, resulting the now infamous Twitter OAuth Apocalypse almost four years later, when Twitter forced all those using the API to switch to OAuth. In four short years Twitters API has become the center of countless desktop clients, mobile applications, web apps, and businesses -- even by Twitter itself, in its IPhone, IPad, Android apps via its public website. [Read More]


API Evangelist

History of APIs - Ebay

26 Jan 2011

On November 20, 2000, eBay launched the eBay Application Program Interface (API) , along with the eBay Developers Program. The eBay API was originally rolled out to only a select number of licensed eBay partners and developers. As eBay stated: "Our new API has tremendous potential to revolutionize the way people do business on eBay and increase the amount of business transacted on the site, by openly providing the tools that developers need to create applications based on eBay technology, we believe eBay will eventually be tightly woven into many existing sites as well as future e-commerce ventures." The eBay API was a response to the growing number of applications that were already relying on its site either legitimately or illegitimately. The API aimed to standardize how applications integrated with eBay, and make it easier for partners and developers to build a business around the eBay ecosystem. eBay is considered the leading pioneer in the current era of web-based APIs and web services. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Youtube JavaScript Player API for IFrame Embeds

24 Jan 2011

The YT.Player is used to control the player, defined by script loaded from http://www.youtube.com/player_api. Here is the Youtube Player API documentation. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Stack Oververflow API Review

20 Jan 2011

StackApps is an API for the family of Q&A websites using the Stack Exchange engine including Stack Overflow, Server Fault and Super User. StackApps provides a RESTFul API using a basic application key authentication. The API provides access to Stack Apps user data as well as questions, answers and comments. No code samples or language packs are provided, they provide a link to the World's Worst Stack Overflow Clone which is a sample application written in C# and a hello world URL example. Building Blocks Technology RESTful API Documentation / Tools Documentation API Explorer Support Blog FAQ Forum Developer Account Info App Key Community Forum [Read More]


API Evangelist

Benefits of Transparency

20 Jan 2011

One of the aspects of my current job that I enjoy, is the transparent nature of my role. My job is to generate attention for Mimeo and the Mimeo Connect Cloud Print API. Let me give you an example. In various roles I've had at companies as lead developer, director of technology, or just a developer I spend a lot of time researching new technologies. When I research new technologies I usually create some sort of overview document, a presentation and probably some sort of sample code or prototype. In legacy positions I do all this hard work, and usually submit to my boss and maybe do apresentationto other teams. Often times, my work goes nowhere. In my new role as an API Evangelist I enjoy a lot of transparency. I get to talk about my work as I'm learning. For exmple I wrote these blog posts yesterday: Programming with PDFs - I am building a list of APIs and Open Source PDF tools I want to use, integrate and create resources for my developers. Programming with Images Using ImageMagick - Similar to PDFs I want a full suite of tools and resources for empower developers to program using images. My project work involves me doing a lot of research and testing, and I get to share this information in real-time. If the projects move forward I will blog about improvements as they happen. So my documentation and presentations often go public as I create them. If a project doesn't go anywhere, the information is still out there. It is still on my blog and on my Twitter account. This can bring added SEO benefit to all my projects and help me in the future, you never know when it will come back around. In other roles where I don't enjoy the same transparency this information would never see the light of day. [Read More]


API Evangelist

The New API Economy

19 Jan 2011

Those of us in the tech community who work with APIs talk a lot about the API economy. This refers to how the Internet is changing all industries on a global scale, and how APIs are a driving force behind this. Behind the scenes, APIs are an integral part of: Social Networking and Media - APIs were the driving mechanism behind Twitter and Facebook's community and made YouTube a ubiquitous video presence across the Internet. Cloud Computing - Amazon Web Services (AWS) a leader in cloud computing started as ONLY an API. APIs help enable the current smart phone revolution we're seeing with IPhone, IPad, and Android. These API-powered movements are significant in our everyday lives and how we conduct business. Even though the term API economy applies in these contexts, it rings even louder when it comes the actual financial markets. With the growing dominance of high frequency trading, APIs such as TD Ameritrade API truly signal the beginning of a new API economy. These APIs provide programmatic control over: Trading Real-Time Streaming data Historical Market Data Cloud computing power like Amazon EC2 combined with financial APIs provide a way to make decisions and trade based upon real-time market data in extremely high volume and make decisions within fractions of a second. The power cloud computing, social networking, mobile phones combined with APIs are truly ushering in a new API driven economy. [Read More]


API Evangelist

OpenID for API Registration

18 Jan 2011

You want to make it as easy as possible for developers to get up and running with your API. You don't want developers to fumble around with lengthy registrations and approval processes. Your API registration needs to be simple and self-service. OpenID is one way to do this. StackApps, the Stack Overflow API demonstrates this perfectly. I wanted to see what was possible using the Stack Apps API. My objective is to integrate an API FAQ system with a Stack Overflow site. I went to Stack Apps and clicked on registration. Stack Apps only gives OpenID for registration. They allow you to select from top providers like Google and Facebook or use your own OpenID provider. With two clicks I was registered for a Stack Apps developer account, and with one more click I was registering my Application and getting my keys. This is how easy you want to make it for developers to get up and going developing against your API. OpenID is the solution. [Read More]


API Evangelist

github as a Marketing Channel to Developers

17 Jan 2011

Marketing products and services to developers can be difficult. They are unlike other consumers and often are difficult to reach and build trust with. Recently, I was discussing which group within a company is most likely to initiate a plan for exposing an API: development, IT, Product Development, or some other? And once released who should own the API? I advocate that all departments should have a stake in the API, and whoever owns it after release should have roots in development. Not that the development or IT department should own it, but the person in charge should have a development or IT mindset, as well as business development, product development and sales and marketing. This can be difficult to find. Marketing with github When marketing your API to developers you can't think like a regular marketer, you have to understand where developers are. One such place is github, the social coding and repository site. O'Reilly Media recently identified github as an important marketing tool in the release of their book Mining the Social Web by Matthew A. Russell. O'Reilly uses github as a repository of source code examples from Mining the Social Web. Not only is github a excellent tool for managing the source code of examples for a book targeting developers, but it is also a great way to market the book to an existing, vibrant community of developers like github. When building your marketing strategy for your API community, make sure and consider how you can integrate github with your API code samples, SDKs, applications and developer community. [Read More]


API Evangelist

New API for Google URL Shortener

11 Jan 2011

Google launched a much anticipated API for the Google URL shortener today as part of the Google Code Labs. The Google URL Shortener at goo.gl is a service that takes long URLs and squeezes them into fewer characters to make a link that is easier to share, tweet, or email to friends. The Google URL Shortener API allows you to interact with the service via a RESTful interface, and returns JSON data structures. Here is the API Overview, as well as the Getting Started Guide. Google has added to its new API console allowing developers to explore and get familiar with the API interface quickly. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Image Management in the Cloud

10 Jan 2011

I am taking some time and writing down my image management strategy to share with Audrey. I have a specific process and set of tools I use to manage images I use across my Kin Lane Blog, API Evangelist Blog and my Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other online properties. I store all my images centrally at Amazon S3. This may not be an ideal solution for everyone, but it works for me. Its a complete storage area for all my images, audio, video and other documents. I use a combination of Amazon Console, S3Fox for Firefox, Cyberduck and Jungle Disk to manage my Amazon S3 files. No time to explain the madness, it just works. I have a central bucket at Amazon S3 for storing ALL images I need to support my public online properties. I have set a bucket policy for this bucket enforcing that all objects within are automatically publicly available. This saves me time in having to set the ACL for each object. When I have a screenshot or creative commons image that I have found that I need to use in my blog I download, crop, resize, download and rename. Then I immediately upload to my Amazon S3 public bucket, and then copy the location to my clipboard. With the URL of the image on Amazon S3 I go back to Wordpress and paste the URL in my blog content as an image. Amazon S3 in conjunction with S3Fox, Cyberduck, Jungle Disk and this process allows me to store ALL images I need for my public work in a central location that I own. My Amazon Web Services account is the center of my cloud storage world. It is important that I store all my vital files here. In the future I know where to find them and won't lost any valuable images I've used in content I have created. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Amazon Web Services Enhances Premium Support

10 Jan 2011

Amazon Web Services (AWS) changed up its premium support offerings, introducing two new support plans: Bronze Plan - The Bronze Plan is meant for developers at $49.00 / month. Platinum Plan - The Platinum Plan is meant for enterprise customers is 10% of AWS usage with a 15K monthly minimum. In addition to the two new support plans AWS reduced the usage-based pricing for the Silver and gold plans by 50%. If that wasn't enough, Amazon increased its responsiveness for normal severity support cases from 24 business hours to 12 business hours, and low severity cases from 48 to 24 hours. Premium Support is a must-have building block in this API economy. But as AWS's new offerings makes clear, as this becomes a competitive space - in terms of quality and pricing - offering premium support might be the thing that makes the difference for customers. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Quora Exposes JSON API

08 Jan 2011

Quora has exposed a JSON-based data API that allows users to access data about a currently logged-in user. To request particular fields about the currently logged-in user, you can add fields to a query string and append to http://api.quora.com/api/logged_in_user. Currently supported fields include: Inbox Followers Following Notifs Here is an example call: http://api.quora.com/api/logged_in_user?fields=inbox,notifs This will return Inbox and Notification related information for the authenticated user. This is not a full-blown API release by Quora. Quora engineer Edmond Lau posted information on Quora about the API, stating that it is in its alpha stage and is only meant to support existing Quora Chrome and Quora Firefox extensions. Even though it doesn't have all the supporting elements of an official API release, the fact that the Q&A startup has established api.quora.com for its use, indicates that it plans to invest more energy around an official Quora API. [Read More]


API Evangelist

FRAPI Open Source PHP REST API Framework

03 Jan 2011

FRAPI is an open source RESTful API framework developed in PHP. It can be used as the backbone of your RESTful web service. FRAPI allows you to instantly have a REST framework for handling all the backbone operations of your API and immediately start working on functionality. It generates PHP code for the API framework and allows you to customize and add your business logic. FRAPI can connect to multiple data sources and automatically generates JSON, XML, PHP, and plain text versions of your data. You can download or fork FRAPI at github. [Read More]


API Evangelist

API Contests and Challenges

01 Jan 2011

In 2010 contests were a proven way to generate attention about your API and products as well as generate some great code and applications for your API. Some contests in 2010 were: AWS Start-up Challenge Bit.ly API Contest Etsy Handmade Code Contest PayPal X Developer Challenge Twilio Netbook Mondays World Bank Apps for Development All these contests are finished now, except for the World Bank Apps for Development which is still running for another week. We will see many more contests is 2011 for new and existing APIs, bringing in new developer talent and attention to those APis. Have you considered throwing a contests for your API or participated in a contest as a developer? [Read More]


API Evangelist

Google Maps API Review

12 Dec 2010

Google Maps API provides mapping, satellite and other geographical data. The system allows overlaying of dynamic data on top of existing maps and photos. The Google Maps API provides a RESTful interface with authentication via digital signatures using a cryptographic key. The web service provides a complete set of methods accessing maps, satellite, and related local search data It provides a wide range of language kits including Flash, JavaScript and code for manipulating in C#, Java and Python. Building Blocks Technology RESTful API Documentation / Tools Dashboard Documentation SDK & Code Libraries Terms and Conditions Case Studies Articles Change Log Support / Management FAQ Blog Community Forum Featured Apps Developer API Registration Featured Apps Partner Featured Apps [Read More]


API Evangelist

Importance of Developer Community Metrics

11 Dec 2010

Any building block you are using to deliver your API to developers, such as blog or forum should have metrics attached to it. You should be collecting any data you can on activity in your API community and reporting on it. I received a platform update from Facebook developer community, with the following stats: Bugzilla activity for the past seven days: 117 new bugs were reported 3 bugs were reproducible and accepted (after duplicates removed) 19 bugs were fixed (18 previously reported bugs and 1 new bug) As of today, there are 4,032 open bugs in Bugzilla Developer Forum activity for the past seven days: 557 new topics were created 377 new topics received at least one reply in the past week Of those, 152 were replied to by an admin Of those, 187 were replied to by a moderator These are great examples of how to report on metrics that give good insights into the Facebook developer community. Setting metrics, gathering data, and making sense of this data will make you more knowledgeable about your API community participants, and sharing these findings with your community will increase transparency and bring your community closer together. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Infochimps API Review

10 Dec 2010

Infochimps provides API access to large data sets including Twitter and census data. Its system also provides business intelligence on much of this data, including a Twitter influence ranking. The Infochimps API delivers a RESTful API with a basic authentication using an application key. It provides a wide range of language kits including Ruby, Python, PHP and Command Line. Building Blocks Technology RESTful API Documentation / Tools Dashboard Quick Start Documentation SDK & Code Libraries Pricing Support / Management FAQ Community Forum Ideas Developer API Registration Account Information Ideas Partner Partner Showcase Media Showcase [Read More]


API Evangelist

Foursquare API Version 2.0

10 Dec 2010

Foursquare released version 2.0 of its API today, after a year of development on the update. The API provides the following upgrades: OAuth 2.0 Authentication User Badges User Venue History Bundled Request Foursquare also dropped XML support, which has been a common move by API providers lately. JSON is fast becoming the preferred format of API providers and developers. Foursquare didn't deliver everything people were asking for, but version 2.0 does provide some important architectural features that show the API is maturing and ready for the next round of growth. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Glue API Review

09 Dec 2010

The Glue API provides integration with the objects, people, and interactions available on the entertainment social network GetGlue. The Glue API delivers a RESTful API using OAuth for authentication The web service provides a complete set of methods for deploying and managing all objects on the social network. It does not provide any language specific development kits. Building Blocks Technology RESTful API OAuth Documentation / Tools Documentation Authentication Overview Terms and Conditions Community Forum [Read More]


API Evangelist

Evernote API Review

09 Dec 2010

Evernote is a text, voice and image note-taking software. A software as a service , Evernote provides web-based, desktop and mobile clients for accessing the service. The Evernote API is delivered using its own proprietary protocol called Evernote Data Access and Management (EDAM) using OAuth for authentication for web applications. The web service provides a Mac, Windows, and mobile specific tool-kits to integrate with the platform. Building Blocks Technology Proprietary API Documentation / Tools Overview Documentation SDK & Code Libraries Terms and Conditions Branding Buttons Mac Windows Mobile Support / Management Blog Community Forum Marketplace Developer API Registration Account Information Marketplace Partner Affiliate Program Marketplace [Read More]


API Evangelist

Android and IOS SDKs for Amazon Web Services

09 Dec 2010

Amazon Web Services has launched mobile software development kits (SDK) for Google's Android and Apple's iOS operating systems (iPhones, iPads, and the iPod Touch). The AWS SDK for Android and the AWS SDK for iOS provide developers access to the following APIs: Amazon S3 Amazon SimpleDB Amazon SQS Amazon SNS The Software Development Kits contain libraries, full documentation and sample code and are available for download on GitHub. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Using Contests to Deliver API Components on Fixed Budget

02 Dec 2010

Contests are becoming a popular way for API community managers to bring attention to their APIs. Giving away cash and prizes is a quick way to get developers understanding your API and to get press coverage as well. myGengo, a translation software as a service (SaaS), has cooked up a contest offering up to $30K in cash and rewards to encourage development of specific plugins that use the myGengo API. myGengo provides a list of popular CMS, SNS, E-Commerce, forums, browser plugins, and SaaS platforms for developers to choose from. You can request adding a new framework or platform if you wish. In addition to increasing public and developer awareness of the myGengo AP platform, the company is getting a full suite of code libraries and plugs for all major platforms on a fixed budget of 30K. Seems like an excellent way to develop code around your platform while keeping it within a specified budget and without bringing in any new development resources or training for new platform and languages. The myGengo API contest demonstrates a new trend in marketing your API, building a community, and establishing a wide selection of code. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Overview: 3D Printing and Manufacturing

28 Nov 2010

As the Mimeo Connect Cloud Print API Evangelist, I get asked why I would be an evangelist for technology in a dying industry. Print and Publishing. My primary argument is: Through new technology such as cloud computing, social media, and mobile the print and publishing industry will be redefined. We won't even recognize it as the old beast. One example of this is Shapeways. Shapeways turns 3D designs and drawings to tangible products through 3D printing. You can choose from their pre-defined creators to build proven products, partner with other designers to create a product or upload your own designs to the Shapeways platform. Shapeways will check your 3D model that you upload to make sure it can be printed properly before sending to their production facility. Once in production, the 3D model in your digital file will be printed layer by layer using one of four 3D printing machines & technologies: Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) - SLS is an additive manufacturing technique that uses a high power laser to fuse small particles of plastic, metal, ceramic, or glass powders into a mass that has a desired 3-dimensional shape. Stereolithography (SLA) - Stereolithography is an additive manufacturing process using a vat of liquid UV-curable photopolymer "resin" and a UV laser to build parts a layer at a time. On each layer, the laser beam traces a part cross-section pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) - FDM works on an "additive" principle by laying down material in layers. A plastic filament or metal wire is unwound from a coil and supplies material to an extrusion nozzle which can turn on and off the flow. Laminate Object Manufacturing (LOM) - LOM is a rapid prototyping system that layers adhesive-coated paper, plastic, or metal laminates are successively glued together and cut to shape with a knife or laser cutter. Plastic objects are printed and delivered in 10 working days, and metal objects...[Read More]


API Evangelist

Print a Book of Your Facebook Life

22 Nov 2010

I spend a lot of time thinking about new ways to print as the Mimeo Connect Cloud Print API Evangelist. During this time I see a common pattern; that print can create more meaningful, physical aspects of our online lives. We create volumes of data through our social streams, online files, emails and other forms data in our daily online lives. Often times the photos and discussions become less valuable because they are so easy to create, so we lose interest in creating organizing photos, emails or other files. This is where I see print being able to be reborn in creating physical, tangible, and more valuable snapshots of our online lives. I talked about fotobooks which allows you to print out photo books created from your Facebook profile. I came across another tool that allows you to print a book from your Facebook profile. Ninuku Archivist is a Facebook application that automatically downloads stuff from your wall on a monthly basis, then saves it into a PDF doc. It will pull your profile, streams, and photos from your Facebook profile and create a stored version of these. This social PDF book could easily be send to the Mimeo REST Cloud Print API and arrive on your doorstep as a printed book the next day. This would be a way to take our online lives and create a physical archive that we can put on the bookshelf for the future. Ninuku Archivist is a little buggy, and the UI difficult to use. I never quite got my book created. I see potential though. With an optimized user interface, and opening up with an API there would be huge potential to create different types of social books and create more meaningful, physical versions of your Facebook life. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Universal APIs

19 Nov 2010

Many APIs deliver the same type of data like city, country or other factual data. Other APIs deliver similar functionality like geo-location and currency conversions. The opportunity to develop Universal APIs or Aggregated APIs that bring together common web services into a single source is growing. One example of API aggregation is the Deltacloud which provide aggregated access to multiple cloud computing platforms such as Rackspace and Amazon EC2 via a single web service. Aggregation of APIs opens up opportunities to provide redundancy, deliver caching and other ways of improve API availability and performance. Aggregators will eventually commoditize certain API services such as geo-location, IP address look-up, storage, and computing and will create markets for services such as Amazon EC2 Spot Instances. This will create competition and ultimately drive down pricing and create opportunities for bulk discounts. API aggregation markets will lead the way for interoperability and standards among API service providers, make integration easier for developers and make it easier to manage the growing number of APIs that are being used in application development. [Read More]


API Evangelist

API Exploration

19 Nov 2010

It is not always easy to get up and running using a new API. As a developer you face all kinds of challenges before integration, like finding and making sense of documentation and authentication and setting up code samples. Sometimes it can take several attempts before you are actually able to understand how an API operates and begin using it. And often times this can mean not adopting an API at all, because you just don't have the time to spend learning about it. Apigee released an API console last week that allows you to easily explore eight top APIs: Twitter Facebook Foursquare LinkedIn SimpleGeo Paypal Soundcloud Twilio Using the console you can select an API for exploration. It then lists the services and endpoints for that web service in a left hand tree-view menu. You can authenticate using OAuth and select an API method which displays the URL in the explorer address bar, then you select GET, POST, PUT, or DELETE. You can then test the web service and see the resulting API request and response. The Apigee Console allows you to explore an API with almost no effort or coding. This type of exploration is critical in understanding how an API works and helps you brainstorm ways you can integrate it with your application. I see the Apigee Console reducing API integration time and ultimately resulting in more API adoption. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Deltacloud API Review

17 Nov 2010

Deltacloud provides aggregated access to multiple cloud computing platforms in a single web service. Deltacloud currently supports seven major cloud computing platforms including Rackspace and Amazon EC2. The Deltacloud API delivers a RESTful API using HTTP Authentication. The web service provides access to hardware profiles, realms, images, and instances. It provides a Ruby client, but no other language kits. Building Blocks: Overview Post-Install REST API Drivers Framework Ruby Client Image Builder The Deltacloud API is free and open source and is available under the LGPL and GPL and licenses. The Deltacloud API, along with its documentation, is available for download, and you can contribute and participate on the wiki. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Developing API Documentation

13 Nov 2010

Peter Gruenbaum of SDK Bridge shared an article in the company's November newsletter that resonated with some of the work I've been doing recently -- creating API documentation for the Mimeo Connect REST Print API. The article is titled A Coder's Guide to Writing API Documentation and appeared in MSDN Magazine. Gruenbaum says that writing good API documentation requires the four components: Overview: Explaining what advantages developers have in using the platform, and in some cases, providing an architectural description of the platform. Getting started: Helping the developer get started, in the form of step-by-step tutorials or simpler walkthroughs. Sample code: Providing well-commented code samples that developers can build on. Reference material: Providing detailed information about each class, member, function or XML element. I have been writing sample PHP code while authenticating and writing calls against every endpoint on the REST Print API this week. I have five developers interested in integrating the API into their applications. So I have been working on and overview and a getting started guide to our API. I have been keeping reference materials to each web service on a wiki as I play with and learn more about our API. Seems like I already have a good start, and seeing Gruenbaum's list of what makes up good API documentation validates where I chose to start with our API documentation this week. [Read More]


API Evangelist

fotobooks on Facebook

09 Nov 2010

I'm going through the my list of existing and potential self-publishing and print-on-demand applications. First on my list is the fotobooks the Facebook social print application. Its a pretty straightforward app allowing you to organize photos from your Facebook albums into small photo books. With 2 clicks you can have the application installed in your Facebook profile: Click Getting Started from fotobooks home page Allow the applications request for permissions The application is now installed and you can assemble and order a fotobook in 7 steps: Click create new book Select cover design, and give book a title Drag photos from albums onto 19 pages of your fotobook Preview your fotobook Enter order quantity and delivery Enter shipping and billing information Pay $5.99 for the book with paypal express or credit card The fotobooks application is a great example of the next generation of social publishing. I have hit a point of exhaustion with digital photos and social sharing of my photos. Social tools like Instagr.am and fotobooks have renewed my energy for taking photos. fotobooks is first on my list of applications to showcase what is possible with the Mimeo Connect Print API platform. It is an existing application, stay tuned for more examples, and random ideas I come up with in my adventures as Mimeo Connect API Evangelist. [Read More]


API Evangelist

API Evangelist - The Business of Your API

09 Nov 2010

I have launched a new site called API Evangelist. I have been operating in stealth mode because I'm not 100% done with all the API Ecosystem building block pages. I've had a couple people ask if I'm a perfectionist, and why don't I just launch. So here we go. My goal behind API Evangelist. is to go beyond just the technology of APIs or being a directory of APIs like ProgrammableWeb is. I want to focus on the business of APIs, which is an area I feel is neglected in over 75% of APIS, even the successful ones. API Evangelist reflects my research, and I'm looking to provide the following types of posts: Analysis Building Blocks News Review Services My goal is to monitor how the leading API providers are delivering their APIs to the world and managing their community. As I review APIs for the blog I enter them into a database and keep track of building blocks, technology, formats, and other characteristics. I will be providing more tools for searching and cross-referencing this data as time goes on. You can view the site at: http://www.apievangelist.com You can view the blog at: http://blog.apievangelist.com This site is my research and learning around the business of APIs, to put to use as the API Evangelist for Mimeo. As I pay attention to top API providers, API service providers, and best practices around the business APIs I feel there is a lot of value to share, and structuring it in this way helps me learn more. Let me know your thoughts. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Monitoring APIs and Their Availability

07 Nov 2010

Applications are being built around APIs at an ever-increasing pace. Developers put a lot of trust in these service providers, and we depend on them to provide a certain quality of service. As a developer, you should build in error handling to deal with service outages properly. When deciding to use an API you might want to look at a service that monitors the availability of Public APIs called API Status. API Status monitors almost 50 top APIS and provide information on whether the API is: Operating Normally Experiencing Performance Issues Having a Service Disruption The real-time status report for Public APIs is provided by WatchMouse. WatchMouse provides online monitoring services and has an API as well. In addition to monitoring, I would like to see a rating system for API service providers based upon their availability and up-time. This would help developers make decisions around whether an API is quality enough to integrate with or not. I would also like to see more competition in the API space, then in addition to gracefully handling of API failures, we could also build in failover into our applications. This would not work with specific services like Twitter for example, but if it is a service that provides a calculation like IP address lookup, or address verification you could have a plan A or plan B when making API calls. We put a lot of trust into API service providers and hope they take their API seriously enough to not only keep up and running, but also provide a high quality of service. API availability and service level agreements will be critical in the future API-driven economy. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Monitoring Apis And Their Availability 2

07 Nov 2010

--- published: true layout: post title: 'Monitoring APIs and Their Availability' image: http://kinlane-productions2.s3.amazonaws.com/api-evangelist/api-status --- Applications are being built around APIs at an ever-increasing pace. Developers put a lot of trust in these service providers, and we depend on them to provide a certain quality of service. As a developer, you should build in error handling to deal with service outages properly. When deciding to use an API you might want to look at a service that monitors the availability of Public APIs called API Status. API Status monitors almost 50 top APIS and provide information on whether the API is: Operating Normally Experiencing Performance Issues Having a Service Disruption The real-time status report for Public APIs is provided by WatchMouse. WatchMouse provides online monitoring services and has an API as well. In addition to monitoring, I would like to see a rating system for API service providers based upon their availability and up-time. This would help developers make decisions around whether an API is quality enough to integrate with or not. I would also like to see more competition in the API space, then in addition to gracefully handling of API failures, we could also build in failover into our applications. This would not work with specific services like Twitter for example, but if it is a service that provides a calculation like IP address lookup, or address verification you could have a plan A or plan B when making API calls. We put a lot of trust into API service providers and hope they take their API seriously enough to not only keep up and running, but also provide a high quality of service. API availability and service level agreements will be critical in the future API-driven economy. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Mashery Business of APIs Conference

07 Nov 2010

I attended Mashery's Business of APIs Conference in San Francisco on Thursday. The event was kicked off with a complete history of APIs from Oren Michels the CEO of Mashery. Michels took us from pre-Internet examples of APIs through eBay pioneering in the space, the mashup explosion and to present day. Then Mike Hart, Director of Engineering at Netflix, gave a talk on the evolution of its API strategy from crowd-sourced innovation to its API enabling it to deliver Netflix on 200 individual devices. APis definitely played a part in Netflix out-maneuvering Blockbuster in the online movie space. After Hart we heard from Danny Boice, from College Board who talked about his challenges around internally selling an API strategy and ultimately building a successful API. Boice delivers an entertaining story of his battle to convince his organization to use APIs. Then the event went into series of rapid fire case studies from: CityGrid Media Quova Klout Lulu Seesmic Active.com Mashery's Delyn Simons then moderated a discussion about what developers want from an API. On the panel was Ron Abbot of Egg Haus, Neil Mansilla CEO of Mansilla Dev and Kent Brewster a Developer at Vurve. I thought one of the most compelling presentations was from Chris Vein, San Francisco's CIO. Vein described the convergence of government and technology with his opening of city data, requiring of open source, development of mobile apps, and learning from process and the community. He is working with other cities to exchange knowledge, data, and applications which gives me hope in a very depressing political landscape. Mashery wrapped up the event with a Q&A session with Ryan Sarver the Director of Platform at Twitter. It gave some insight into the API operations of the sometimes poster child API ecosystem. The Mashery Business of APIs was a perfect size event with some of the brightest minds that are delivering APIs and brainstorming the next generation of API ecosystem strategy. It was...[Read More]


API Evangelist

Google API Console

07 Nov 2010

Google released some updates to its API ecosystem the other day with a new release of Google Custom Search API. Google also rewrote a bunch of API documentation and more importantly released an API console for managing your Google APIs. I can't tell you how many Google APIs there are, let alone how many of them I use for personal or business. I think Google is having trouble keep track of the API sprawl itself, and is moving to provide its users with tools to manage their API usage confidently. The Google API Console allows you to create API Projects and activate different Google APIs underneath these projects. Within a project you can: Activate APIs - Select which APIs are used within a project. Team - Manage which users have access to a project Traffic Controls - Tools that allow you to limit requests to specific IP Addresses, and define how many calls they can make Traffic Reports - Analytics showing how number of requests and referrers. Keys - Allows you to issue individual keys for different API consumers within a project. Google API Console provides some much needed to tools to help users better integrate their applications with Google Services. It also goes further to help developers use Google Web services as a platform for building and deploying applications to different users' groups and clients. Google API Console is only available for a limited number of Google APIs currently, although Google promises more APIs to come. The tools it provides are reflective of the tools provided by API Service Providers such as Mashery, 3Scale, and Apigee. APIs are rising in number within Google and across all industries, and as such, the need to manage access and security and to measure usage is only going to grow. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Showcase Your API Developers and Their Applications

31 Oct 2010

Do you have a cool application built on top of your API? (Hopefully you do!) I'm sure there are some amazing developers who have worked hard on developing applications that make use of your API. They have seen the value your API delivers and built an application that extends that value to their users. An application showcase could be an important building block of your API community. An application showcase can provide an great way to reward your developers with exposure. It also will make them feel like an important part of your community. This is a great way to encourage their participation in other areas of your API ecosystem. An application showcase also can inspire new developers looking for ideas of how they can use your API. Developers might not understand how to put your API to use, and seeing how other community members have used the API may help. You never know -- your community may even show you some ways of using your API that you never have thought of. You can see application showcases being use by successful APIs such as Zemanta, Paypal, Google, and even the World Bank. Consider an application showcase for your API developer community. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Amazon S3 API Review

29 Oct 2010

Amazon S3 is infrastructure service that provides virtualized storage on demand with pay as you go pricing. Amazon S3 began as a web service and later developed a web-based interface to manage services. The Amazon S3 API delivers separate RESTful API using a signature authentication and a SOAP API adhering to the WS-Security standard. The web service provides a complete set of methods for deploying and managing server instance. They provide a wide range of language kits including Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, and .NET Building Blocks: Technology RESTful API SOAP API Documentation / Tools Getting Started Documentation SDK & Code Libraries Pricing Release Notes Terms and Conditions Videos Case Studies Articles Tutorials 3rd Party Tools Use Cases Security Center Support / Management FAQ Blog Status Dashboard Paid Support Support Center Community Forum Events Developer API Registration App Manager Account Information Usage Reports App Gallery Dev Share Partner Service Provider Directory [Read More]


API Evangelist

USA Today API Review

27 Oct 2010

USA Today is a major newspaper and online media outlet. It provides wide coverage in the following categories News, Travel, Money, Sports, Life, Tech, and Weather. USA Today offers a RESTful API delivering best-selling books and sports salaries data. They provide an application key for authentication and no specific language kits. Building Blocks: Technology RESTful API Documentation / Tools Dashboard Documentation Terms of Use Support / Management Blog Twitter Community Forum Developer API Registration App Manager The USA Today API is delivered on the Mashery API delivery platform. [Read More]


API Evangelist

My Mimeo - Future of Technology and Printing

27 Oct 2010

I am in New York City this week kicking off my new career as the API Evangelist for Mimeo Connect. Mimeo Connect is the API for the Mimeo Print Platform. Before evangelizing about the API I have to talk about the Mimeo Platform for a bit. I have spent the week learning everything I can about the self-service, next generation print platform. What intrigued me about this job is the unique blend of technology and manufacturing that is involved. The Mimeo team truly does it, they have created a beautiful print document builder, storage and ordering system seamlessly integrated with 3 print facilities in New Jersey, Tennessee, and California. Once signed up for a Mimeo account you can build bound documents, binders, booklets, flyers, brochures, posters and much more. I'm impressed with the UI and the level of control you have over building and viewing your document. You also get a lot of control over the ordering, turn-around, and shipping involved with your print orders. Get this, you can get online at night and build your documents, and if you have ordered by 10:00 PM EST, it will be delivered by 8:30 AM. All without going to Kinkos in the middle of the night in some weird part of town. I'm really honored to be evangelizing such an amazing product. I can't rave enough about the company, its philosophy, and approach to transforming the future of technology and printing as we know it.? [Read More]


API Evangelist

Amazon EC2 API Review

27 Oct 2010

Amazon EC2 is infrastructure service that provides virtualized servers on-demand with pay-as-you-go pricing. Amazon EC2 began as a web service and later developed a web-based interface to manage services. The Amazon EC2 API delivers separate RESTful API using a signature authentication and a SOAP API adhering to the WS-Security standard. The web service provides a complete set of methods for deploying and managing server instance. Amazon provides a wide range of language kits including Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, and .NET Building Blocks: Technology RESTful API SOAP API Documentation / Tools Getting Started Documentation SDK & Code Libraries Pricing Release Notes Terms and Conditions Videos Case Studies Articles Tutorials 3rd Party Tools Use Cases Security Center Support / Management FAQ Blog Status Dashboard Paid Support Support Center Community Forum Events Developer API Registration App Manager Account Information Usage Reports App Gallery Dev Share (Community Content) Partner Service Provider Directory [Read More]


API Evangelist

Amazon Ec2 Api Review 2

27 Oct 2010

--- published: true layout: post title: 'Amazon EC2 API Review' image: https://s3.amazonaws.com/kinlane-productions2/api-evangelist-logos/api-evangelist-butterfly-vertical.png --- Amazon EC2 is infrastructure service that provides virtualized servers on-demand with pay-as-you-go pricing. Amazon EC2 began as a web service and later developed a web-based interface to manage services. The Amazon EC2 API delivers separate RESTful API using a signature authentication and a SOAP API adhering to the WS-Security standard. The web service provides a complete set of methods for deploying and managing server instance. Amazon provides a wide range of language kits including Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, and .NET Building Blocks: Technology RESTful API SOAP API Documentation / Tools Getting Started Documentation SDK & Code Libraries Pricing Release Notes Terms and Conditions Videos Case Studies Articles Tutorials 3rd Party Tools Use Cases Security Center Support / Management FAQ Blog Status Dashboard Paid Support Support Center Community Forum Events Developer API Registration App Manager Account Information Usage Reports App Gallery Dev Share (Community Content) Partner Service Provider Directory [Read More]


API Evangelist

bit.ly API contest - Building Block Showcase

23 Oct 2010

Holding an API contest is a great way to spur innovation around your API and its community. bit.ly is a popular URL shortening service that offers an API as part of its core software-as-a-service. In January 2009 it held a successful API contest and is looking to do it again with a new bit.ly API contest. The prizes offered:: 1st prize - Makerbot Thing-O-Matic 3D Printer 2nd prize - 1TB USB hard drive enclosed in a vintage nintendo game (Zelda, Metroid, etc) 3rd prize - Set of BuckyBalls magnetic building spheres bit.ly encourages developer to be creative and come up with unexpected uses, but it also plants a few ideas that the company woul'd like to see developers work on. There are a lot of developers that may know about your API, but not actively involved. Your developers may need a little bit of motivation to get them working. An API contest is a great way to light the fire under your development community, stimulate innovative uses of your API, and generate some buzz around your API community. [Read More]


API Evangelist

LinkedIn Labs - Building Block Showcase

15 Oct 2010

LinkedIn has released an API labs to showcase various internal projects using the LinkedIn API. LinkedIn Labs hosts a small set of projects and experimental features built by the employees of LinkedIn. They are published demonstrations and intended to be low-maintenance experiments and may be added and removed over time based on popularity and support. Four projects the Labs showcases are: NewIn - This application shows new members joining LinkedIn from around the world. ChromeIn - Integrate LinkedIn directly into Google Chrome. Easy access to your LinkedIn updates, anytime. Instant Search - A sample application to search LinkedIn, built over the new Linkedin Javascript APIs. Signal - Signal is aimed at making it easy for all professionals to glean the most relevant insights from the never-ending stream of status updates and news. An API Labs is a great way to showcase experimental and innovative projects that utilize your API. Encouraging your internal staff to spend time on Labs projects and showcasing on site can improve internal understanding of challenges faced by developers when integrating with your API. An API Labs environment can be extended to your API developers and partners as well. This is a great way to encourage innovation and building community around your API. [Read More]


API Evangelist

How to Avoid Frustrating Your API Developers

13 Oct 2010

If you provide an API, one of the things you will want to avoid is having someone's blog post condemning your company for not caring about developers hit the front page of Hacker News. Because even if you are a giant like Facebook, you really cannot afford to have your API be an excruciating experience (although, yes, Facebook can probably afford it more than others). Seth Call recently wrote a blog post called The Facebook API: A Case Study in Not Caring About Developers. And while the post is directed at Facebook, Call's observations about how to (mis)treat your developer community offer important insights that any company should pay attention to. The post lays out several reasons why working with the Facebook API is, in his words, "one of the worst experiences as a developer I have ever had." Poor Documentation Poor Testability No Response to Serious Issues Constantly Changing API Call's post is interesting as it chronicles (in great detail) how he has had to struggle (unnecessarily) at almost every stage of working with the Facebook API -- a struggle that could easily be addressed with better documentation and better customer service. And the latter is an important reminder that while you might not view third-party developers as such, they are your customers. [Read More]


API Evangelist

How To Avoid Frustrating Your Api Developers 2

13 Oct 2010

--- published: true layout: post title: 'How to Avoid Frustrating Your API Developers' image: http://kinlane-productions2.s3.amazonaws.com/api-evangelist/facebook-developers.png --- If you provide an API, one of the things you will want to avoid is having someone's blog post condemning your company for not caring about developers hit the front page of Hacker News. Because even if you are a giant like Facebook, you really cannot afford to have your API be an excruciating experience (although, yes, Facebook can probably afford it more than others). Seth Call recently wrote a blog post called The Facebook API: A Case Study in Not Caring About Developers. And while the post is directed at Facebook, Call's observations about how to (mis)treat your developer community offer important insights that any company should pay attention to. The post lays out several reasons why working with the Facebook API is, in his words, "one of the worst experiences as a developer I have ever had." Poor Documentation Poor Testability No Response to Serious Issues Constantly Changing API Call's post is interesting as it chronicles (in great detail) how he has had to struggle (unnecessarily) at almost every stage of working with the Facebook API -- a struggle that could easily be addressed with better documentation and better customer service. And the latter is an important reminder that while you might not view third-party developers as such, they are your customers. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Yahoo Answers API Review

12 Oct 2010

Yahoo! Answers is a community-driven question-and-answer (Q&A) site that allows users to both submit questions to be answered and answer questions asked by other users. The site gives members the chance to earn points as a way to encourage participation. The Yahoo! Answers API is a RESTful API using an appID for authentication. It provides a read only API for querying questions individually, by search, category, or by user. Yahoo! provides 12 language kits including Java, PHP, and VB.Net. Building Blocks: Technology RESTful API Documentation / Tools API Reference SDK / Code Libraries Getting Started Rate Limits Terms of Use Support / Management Email List Help Section Community Forum (Yahoo Groups) Developer Registration Account Info [Read More]


API Evangelist

Skype API Review

12 Oct 2010

Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both land-line and mobile phones can be made for a fee. Skype provides a Public API that uses a text-based protocol delivered in package that only run on Windows, Linux, and Mac and a command line implementation. With the Skype API you can read / write all the functionality available in the Skype application. Building Blocks: Documentation / Tools Dashboard API Reference SDK / Code Libraries Certification BETA Program Terms of Use Support / Management Blogs Community Forum [Read More]


API Evangelist

Paypal API Review

12 Oct 2010

PayPal is an e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. PayPal serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods such as checks and money orders. Paypal offers a RESTful API using a credential / signature authentication. Paypal provide a read / write API for payment transactions. Paypal includes software development kits (SDK) in PHP, Java, and .NET. Building Blocks: Technology RESTful API Documentation / Tools Dashboard API Reference Express Integration Getting Started How it Works SDK / Code Libraries 3rd Party Tools Mobile Sandbox Buttons Widgets Pricing Certification Tutorials International Case Sudies Videos Support / Management Blog Phone Number Email Change Log Community Forum Developer Account Management App Showcase Paypal provides a large number of tools for its API. However, this information is spread across several areas making it difficult to find all of it. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Google Documents List API Review

12 Oct 2010

Google Docs is a free, Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, form, and data storage service from Google. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users. Google provides a RESTful document list API that uses either AuthSub or oAuth authentication. The API provides read/write methods for adding documents and folders and allows the management of ACL, revisions, and Meta data. Google provides 5 language software development kits including Java, .NET, and PHP. Building Blocks: Technology RESTful API Documentation / Tools Dashboard API Reference SDK / Code Libraries Getting Started Terms of Use Support / Management FAQ Articles Blogs Change Log Issue Tracker Community Forum [Read More]


API Evangelist

Google Apps Supports OAuth

12 Oct 2010

Google Apps recently began supporting OAuth authorization when connecting to the Google Apps API. OAuth will make integration with the Google Apps platform much more secure by not requiring administrators to share their username and password with third party applications. The advantages to using OAuth are: OAuth is more secure: OAuth tokens can be scoped and set to expire by a certain date, making them more secure than using the ClientLogin mechanism. OAuth is customizable: Using OAuth, you can create tokens that scripts may only use to access data of a particular scope when calling Google Apps APIs. For instance, a token set to call the Email Migration API would not be able to use your login credentials to access the Google Apps Provisioning API. OAuth is an open standard: OAuth is an open source standard, making it a familiar choice for developers to work with. The Google Apps API services that support OAuth are: Provisioning API Email Migration API Admin Settings API Calendar Resource API Email Settings API Audit API OAuth for authentication is more accepted by developers, and it makes many IT administrators much more comfortable with allowing third party integration with their Google Apps Premier, Education and Government editions. To learn more about the OAuth standard, visit http://oauth.net. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Delicious API Review

12 Oct 2010

Delicious is a social bookmarking web service for storing, sharing, and discovering Web bookmarks. Delicious has a RESTful API, with a HTTP-Auth authentication. Using the API, you can read and write Delicious bookmarks and tags. Delicious provides some PHP Curl scripts for connecting, but no other language kits. Building Blocks: Technology RESTful API Documentation / Tools SDK / Code Libraries Getting Started [Read More]


API Evangelist

Digg API Review

11 Oct 2010

Digg is a social news site that allows users to submit and vote up or down news stories published by others. Digg offers a RESTful API, with oAuth authentication. The API gives access to just about all functionality available through the interface, including topics, stories, users, comments and search. Digg provides PHP and Python language libraries allowing developers to quickly consume the API. Building Blocks: Technology REST API oAuth Documentation / Tools API Reference SDK / Code Libraries Authentication Overview Github Support / Management Dashboard Issue Tracker Forum [Read More]


API Evangelist

Mashery API Services

10 Oct 2010

Mashery is an API management service provider that offers an API as a Software as a Service (SaaS). You can leverage Mashery's platform to get an API planned, deployed, and into operation quickly. Mashery makes a pretty compelling buy versus build argument when planning for your API. Mashery provides a wide array of tools in three distinct areas: API Management building blocks like API registration, credential management, usage throttling and business rules. Metrics and Reporting building blocks like API usage, developer activity, systems status, and real-time insights into API operations. Community Management building blocks for blogs, wiki, general content management, change control, and forums. Mashery is definitely the leader in this space. It has a robust set of API management features as well as a service level agreement and extensive API support portal. Mashery also understands the API developer network to enable deeper integration of their API services. Mashery's platform, collective experience, resources, and support makes it enticing to use them as a platform for launching and growing your API. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Industry News for Week of October 3rd 2010

10 Oct 2010

We share the top API Industry News with you throughout the week in our real-time API Industry RSS Feed. Here are the top stories from the week: Foursquare Outage a Chance to Test for Errors New York Times: Introducing Version 3 of the Campaign Finance API World Bank Opens More Datasets, Challenges Developers to Build Apps O'Reilly Radar: The black market for data LinkedIn Platform: Announcing Early Access to Our New Javascript API & OAuth 2 If you know of any API news that you feel is important feel free to share to [email protected]. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Apigee API Services

10 Oct 2010

Apigee is another player in the API management service provider space. Apigee is similar to 3Scale in helping businesses plan, deploy and manage their API. Apigee provides resources to help you understand best practices, avoid common pitfalls, develop your strategy, and learn to drive your developer community. Apigee breaks down their product offerings into three tiers: Free tools to learn test, and debug APIs. Analytics and rate limiting. Premium tools for advanced rate limiting, key management and unlimited traffic plans. Enterprise tools for API policy framework, scaling solution for both cloud and on-premise options. Apigee seems dedicated a healthy and standards based approach to delivering your API ecosystem with pricing for every budget. Their three tiers of pricing allow you to get your API up and running without a huge budget, and grow as the demand for your API grows. Apigee also provides articles, white papers, and other resources to help you deliver your API. [Read More]


API Evangelist

3Scale API Services

10 Oct 2010

3Scale provides plug-and-play as well as enterprise level API management services. 3Scale is similar to 3Scale connect is a starter platform with a freemium model for delivering your API. You can deploy at no cost, and pay-as-you-go based upon the volume of calls made on your API. This model is well suited to those who are not sure of their API business model or target audience -- or are just looking to test the waters. 3Scale Enterprise offers unlimited scaling in the clouds and greater control over your API as your demand grows. 3Scale also provides higher levels of support for its enterprise level customers. 3Scale breaks their services down into: API Management API Monitoring & Statistics Developer Community Portal Billing & Payments API Access Provisioning High Quality Customer Support & SLA 3Scale also delivers with its own API to access their management platform, allowing you to seamlessly integrate their platform into your internal systems. 3Scale provides tutorials, white papers and other resources to assist you in planning, deploying and managing your API and community. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Why a Tech Journalist Cares About Your API

09 Oct 2010

There are a lot of things I weigh when deciding to write about a company: is the product interesting, is the technology innovative, is the company's story compelling. Some days, it's "news" when a very small feature change occurs at a very big company. And some days, it's "news" when very big things are afoot at very small companies. Most days, it's not quite so clear cut as that, and I have to wade through hundreds of email pitches in order to decide which stories to tell. And as I do my research and conduct my product reviews and my phone briefings, one of the things I look for is an API. Although yes, I want to hear that your product has traction. I want to see that customers and investors like you. I want to hear about the problem your company addresses, the technology you've developed, your business model, your background, your domain expertise. But I also want to hear about your API. Why? An API demonstrates you recognize your product does not exist in a vacuum. You are not simply concerned with how you interact with your customer, but how your product interacts with others your customer utilizes Having an API points to a business development strategy that relies not just on marketing to these customers but on cultivating business partnerships. Having an API is, as Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake argues, "Biz Dev 2.0." A quick look via the link on your website to your API (you do have a link to your API, right?) can give a sense of the strength of your developer community. Do you make it easy and desirable for other developers and companies to use your API? I don't expect every company, particularly startups, to have a robust API upon launch. But I will often ask what the company's plans for an API entail. It's a question that gives me a glimpse into potential partnerships, data portability, mobile...[Read More]


API Evangelist

API Documentation

09 Oct 2010

The ability to explain your API to developers and potential developers critical to the success of your API. While it's important to be able to explain to potential business partners and customers about the problems your API solves, at the end of the day it is crucial that you be able to provide them with the tools -- and the documentation -- to actually do it. The importance of documentation -- samples, training materials, guides, docs -- can't be understated. Quality documentation and reference material for your Application Programming Interface (API) can be the difference between a developer adopting your API or moving on to another vendor. And yet these can be difficult documents to collect and/or to write. SDK Bridge is a company that specializes in explaining technology through documentation and software development kits. It provides a variety of API-related services including: API Documentation Sample code and tutorials Highly technical copywriting Training sessions on how to use software platforms Technology classes for youth These services can be a critical piece of delivering your API. SDK Bridge says that it is a bridge between people and technology. So very true. SDK Bridge provides a set of services that any business looking to deliver an API should evaluate. Even though you many be able to generate your own marketing materials, SDK and other supporting API documents, you may find more value bring in an outside perspective to make sure you explain how your API solves problems, adds value, and can be successfully integrated to customers systems. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Api Documentation 2

09 Oct 2010

--- published: true layout: post title: 'API Documentation' image: http://sdkbridge.com/images/ui/SDKBridge-logo.gif --- The ability to explain your API to developers and potential developers critical to the success of your API. While it's important to be able to explain to potential business partners and customers about the problems your API solves, at the end of the day it is crucial that you be able to provide them with the tools -- and the documentation -- to actually do it. The importance of documentation -- samples, training materials, guides, docs -- can't be understated. Quality documentation and reference material for your Application Programming Interface (API) can be the difference between a developer adopting your API or moving on to another vendor. And yet these can be difficult documents to collect and/or to write. SDK Bridge is a company that specializes in explaining technology through documentation and software development kits. It provides a variety of API-related services including: API Documentation Sample code and tutorials Highly technical copywriting Training sessions on how to use software platforms Technology classes for youth These services can be a critical piece of delivering your API. SDK Bridge says that it is a bridge between people and technology. So very true. SDK Bridge provides a set of services that any business looking to deliver an API should evaluate. Even though you many be able to generate your own marketing materials, SDK and other supporting API documents, you may find more value bring in an outside perspective to make sure you explain how your API solves problems, adds value, and can be successfully integrated to customers systems. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Scribd Review

07 Oct 2010

Scribd is a social publishing site, where people can upload and share their documents. The Scribd API has the following building blocks: API Overview Sign Up for an API Account API Tutorials Client Libraries User Authentication Overview Usage Limits Javascript API Mobile and E-Reader API and SDK Enterprise SDK Help / Support FAQ Scribd provides client libraries in these programming language: Ruby Java PHP C# / .NET ActionScript 3.0 Python Scribd makes it easy to sign up for an API account by providing links in the site navigation and on the home page. Scribd doesn't go the extra yard with a full set of API building blocks, but they provide the essentials needed for a successful development experience. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Salesforce Reaches for Larger Audience with REST API

07 Oct 2010

Salesforce is gearing up for the upcoming release of their REST API on October 26, with a REST API Developer Preview Webinar. The release of the a RESTful API for the developerforce platform is a major sign of upcoming growth for the cloud computing platform. REST APIs enjoy lmuch larger acceptance in the developer community compared to SOAP APIs. SOAP is a favorite amongst the enterprise and hard-core development communities, but REST is easier to understand and have lower barriers of entry for more web 2.0 oriented programmers. As cloud computing is gaining acceptance with the masses, and the smoke is clearing around how to actually make the cloud work, SalesForce is making a major move to woo more businesses and developers to their platform. I think this is just a first of many moves by the proven cloud platform to not only defend their position as the leader in Platform as a Service, but grow significantly in the next couple of years. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Box.net Review

07 Oct 2010

Online storage and collaboration tool OpenBox Developer area for those working with the API. The developer area offers the following pieces: Introduction to OpenBox Actions Getting Started Guide for API Easy Signup Project Setup Page And Box.net provides several flavors to its API: REST SOAP XML-RPC It also provide ssome some great code samples and libraries in all the top programming languages. There is a list of of all the API functions on the left hand menu, broken down into categories: Authentication File and Folder Operations Sharing Tagging Commenting Download and Upload Box.net supports its API with a developer blog and also provides an email address to contact Box.net directly. There is also a mobile API offering. While I think Box.net offers a solid API, the API developer community or ecosystem is lacking. Its pretty evident the API came solely out of the Box.net development team. The API community lacks consistency and seems to be spread between developers.box.net and box.net/developers. The overall approach lacks community and even has some broken links. Box.net talks about some partners and API implementations on its blog, but doesn't showcase its developers or partners. In some ways this makes the API look like an after thought, and could give people pause before integrating it as they might fear they won't get much attention as part of the community.. Without actual experience in integration of course, this is all speculation. Although I think this reflects a common approach to delivering an API. Companies come out with a strong product, but without a solid business, marketing and management approach it can prompt people to explore other API solutions. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Biz Dev 2.0

07 Oct 2010

Several years ago, Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake coined the phrase "Biz Dev 2.0" in a blog post explaining how several small companies had approached FLickr wanting to provide services that the photo-sharing site didn't feature. She noted that Flickr executives had little time in their schedules to arrange meetings to hash out these partnerships, and instead encouraged companies to "feel free to apply for a Commercial API key and build something off the API." "Biz Dev 2.0," she called it. Fake describes the traditional sorts of business development processes -- "spending a lot of money on dry cleaning, animating your powerpoint, drinking stale coffee in windowless conference rooms and scouring the thesaurus looking for synonyms for "synergy". Not to mention trying to get hopelessly overbooked people to return your email. And then after the deal was done, squabbling over who dealt with the customer service." While a Web 1.0 world made partnerships and integration challenging, a Web 2.0 world has the advantage of the API, something that removes many of the bureaucratic, legal, and technical obstacles. So by developing and marketing your API, your company can take advantage of new technologies and new business development practices. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Youtube API Review

06 Oct 2010

One of the keys to YouTube's success as a video sharing platform is its successful API that allows developers and site owners to embed, share and distribute YouTube content across the Intertubes. As with many of its other products, Google starts with the essential API ecosystem building blocks: Dashboard Quickstart Docs Sample Code Forum Articles Blog In addition, YouTube really support its partner and developers with: Partners Showcase App Gallery Widgets White Label Player Google also enforces brand integrity with a few tools: Branding Guidelines Compatibility Terms Google definitely has a solid formula for replicating its API ecosystems in its different products, and the YouTube developer area is an excellent example of this formula being applied to a media API. Like Google's other projects, YouTube utilizes Google Code as the repository for its API community and code. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Riding the Waves of Change

06 Oct 2010

Change happens. With technology, change seems to be accelerating, or at least the waves of change seem to come more frequently. I feel I've developed a certain rhythm for riding these waves. Part of this rhythm is a regular evaluation of where I stand, a sort of agile career methodology. I'm in one of those evaluation periods right now. What wave is next? In January 2007 I found myself jumping on the social media wave, in which I still ride to some degree. In Spring of 2008 I found myself jumping on the cloud computing wave, in which I'm still totally drowning in. What wave is next? Mobile? Big Data? Semantics? There are many things I consider when evaluating what I will focus my attention on. I want to make sure I will be investing in learning that will benefit my professional development. One thing I look for are constants within all the waves I ride. One constant I've seen between Social media and Cloud Computing are APIs. If you take a deeper look: Social Media - YouTube API and Flickr API are at the heart of the social media movement. Social Networking - Facebook API Platform and the Twitter API play a big part in the growth and adoption of social networking. Cloud Computing - The two undisputed kings of cloud computing, Amazon Web Services and Google both depend on API to deliver their services APIs are playing a monumental role in delivering the Internet today. What is next? Mobile - APIs make mobile applications possible and help drive innovation in the mobile space. Big Data - APIs allow data to be gathered, shared, and available for visualizations and mashups. Semantics - APIs will drive discovery and meaning around links, documents, and other objects. Pick most any area of business today and you can see APIs either driving or emerging as a major player within that industry. Change is upon me again, whatever the...[Read More]


API Evangelist

How To Pitch Your API

06 Oct 2010

As a journalist, I get a lot of pitches from startups trying to convince me to write about their product or service. And I also attend a lot of pitch events, where entrepreneurs try to convince a panel of judges (typically investors) to write them a check. Often there are a lot of missing pieces in these pitches -- no compelling technology, no compelling market, no compelling story, and most damning, no actual product. Sure. You can have slides. You can boast about how awesome your product will be. You can talk, talk, talk. Or, you can actually show it off, show how it works. And I do mean, literally, how it works, by coding your way through a demo. And this is what John Britton, Twilio's developer evangelist, does in this video, taken at a NY Tech Meetup. In it, he not only makes the case for the Twilio product -- the Twilio API integrates phone and message actions into your app. But by coding the demo live onstage, Britton also makes the case for and to the developer community, which is particularly important for having a vibrant and robust API. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Flickr API Review

06 Oct 2010

The Flickr provides a way for new tools to be built and for Flickr content to be uploaded or shared. Flickr offers a solid API with very traditional building blocks: API Overview Account Manager App Manager API / SDK Kits Email Listserve Recently Flickr evolved its API area (App Garden) and took a more ecosystem approach by creating code.flickr.com by bringing together several old and new building blocks: Dashboard Forums (3 separate forums: API Forum, Hacking Uploadr, and Yahoo Forum) Developer Feature Developer Blog Jobs Listing (For Flickr, not for ecoystem) Flickr's API is a solid example of a simple, yet successful RESTful approach to an API. A very early mover in building an API, Flickr's offerings may be missing many of the more sophisticated API building blocks we are seeing with the new generation of APIs. Nevertheless, you can't argue with success. I believe Flickr's dead simple approach to solving one problem -- photo sharing -- has helped the company deliver a successful API even without a robust API ecosystem. [Read More]


API Evangelist

Flickr Api Review 2

06 Oct 2010

--- published: true layout: post title: 'Flickr API Review' image: http://kinlane-productions2.s3.amazonaws.com/api-evangelist/Flickr-Code-Screenshot.PNG --- The Flickr provides a way for new tools to be built and for Flickr content to be uploaded or shared. Flickr offers a solid API with very traditional building blocks: API Overview Account Manager App Manager API / SDK Kits Email Listserve Recently Flickr evolved its API area (App Garden) and took a more ecosystem approach by creating code.flickr.com by bringing together several old and new building blocks: Dashboard Forums (3 separate forums: API Forum, Hacking Uploadr, and Yahoo Forum) Developer Feature Developer Blog Jobs Listing (For Flickr, not for ecoystem) Flickr's API is a solid example of a simple, yet successful RESTful approach to an API. A very early mover in building an API, Flickr's offerings may be missing many of the more sophisticated API building blocks we are seeing with the new generation of APIs. Nevertheless, you can't argue with success. I believe Flickr's dead simple approach to solving one problem -- photo sharing -- has helped the company deliver a successful API even without a robust API ecosystem. [Read More]


API Evangelist

The API Economy

25 Sep 2010

Application Programming Interfaces (API) are a driving the Internet and our economy. They drive our online experience: Developers rely on API for key data and functionality in their applications Businesses exchange data and services using API Media and press are using them for real-time analysis API's come in many flavors: XML-RPC, SOAP, and REST, although REST is king when it comes to next generation of web applications. In 2000 businesses were still working to understand the importance of having a web site. In 2010 businesses are now faced with the growing importance of their API. If you don't already have an API developed in-house you need to talk with Mashery or 3Scale. If you have an API, but need to take it to the next level. You need an API Evangelist. [Read More]