ProgrammableWeb.com Site launched in Summmer 2005. APIs, mashups and tools directory News, community, reference materials 400 APIs and 1800 mashups Why bother with APIs? Make money: eBay over 45% of all products get listed via their APIs. 3 billion API calls per month. Save money: Smugmug saves $500k year with Amazon S3 storage. Build brand: Google Maps 300% growth vs 20% Mapquest Build empires: Salesforce.com – over 50% of all transactions via their API. 500 apps so far. Innovate: 100’s of Flickr apps. Is Twitter next? What makes an API successful? Rule #1, the underlying service: or, a good API on a bad service is like lipstick on a pig A plan and a business model Simple, open, easily adopted Providing choices Good developer support Number of API providers in each of the top 10 categories: Geo/mapping 38% Reference 26% Internet 21% Search 18% Shopping 18% Music 17% Photos 14% Messaging 14% Bookmarks 10 % Widgets 10% Unexpected sources of APIs: HOTorNOT U.S. postal service Weatherbug Betfair Theholybible Secondlife theworkforyou Sunlight API Business Models
Best practice is to bake your business model into your API API pricing & licensing models
Who What How Amazon ECS retail affiliate model Amazon.com infrastructure pay-as-you-go eBay auctions APIs for listings Salesforce.com CRM “seats” Exact Target bulk email tiered pricing (they do millions of API transactions per quarter) Cypress Golf ASP for reserving tee times integration Rhapsody music partnerships
Revenue sharing via affiliates; advertising (see new AdSense API) Subscription per time period; classic Software as a Service Tiered pricing in volume buckets Per-call metering fee per API call (see strikeiron) Utility API is free, but fee for resources (cpu, storage, bandwidth) Pay per conversion or sign-up commissions and referrals (yahoo mail) Ad-supported is free, ad-free is premium see ad and branding-free premium mapping Units different calls priced at different levels (google AdWords API)
Comparing protocol choices 77 APIs from 6 providers:
Protocol Pros Cons SOAP established standard, wide tool support complexity, interoperability issues REST simplicity, built on how the web works (URIs and core HTTP methods) lack of standards, tool support challenges
favor simple designs use more than one to broaden your base be as consistent as possible Data formats supported: 2 dozen xml, json, rss, atom, yaml, icalendar, csv, serialized php, html, pn, georss, vcard, text, rdf, opml, vml, tv-anytime, hcalendar, xspf, sql, gml, cdf favor simplicity and standards use more than one to broaden your base provide domain-appropriate alternatives 25% of new apis listed at Programmable Web in 2007 support json 8% of all apis listed before 2007 supported json xml: well established, general purpose; greater parsing overhead; well suited for documents; wide tool support json: objects and simple types; fast parsing, good fit for client side scripting; bindings for 20+ languages Yahoo Mail added json support in 2 days John’s favorite APIs are from Flickr #1 api provider issue is adoption How many steps from zero-to-code? Easy sign up and self service is key. Offer a free level of API use. How well do you treat your developers? Developer network and evangelism How’s your pre-code support? Docs, gallery, forums, mailing lists, and lots of code. Media: videos, screencasts, podcasts Any post-code support? Certification, marketing, events. System status (trust.salesforce.com shows availability of all their API servers), usage reporting Know the tools ecosystem: Data mashup tools – yahoo pipes, grazr, rssbus, data mashups Scraping tools – kapow, dapper Visual development tools – jackbe, qedwiki, proto, teqlo, bungee labs DIY consumer tools – platial, google my maps, map builder Risks and issues Dependencies: business and technical. Strategize accordingly – go in eyes-open. Mashups: know switching costs (consider tools like Mapstraction) Lack of service level agreements. Consider commercial license models (ex google maps enterprise). Mashups: should also disclaim warranty (“trickle-down terms”) Commercial vs. non-commercial use. Most API terms of service differentiate these, but vaguely. If you place ads on your mashup, is that “commercial use”? Copyright law issues. What data can be remixed and how? See: Flickr API integrates Creative Commons license. The big issue: identity Where are the ‘personal mashups’? high-value data locked behind IDs and password Limited standardization & consensus. Even in new competing “authorization APIs”. Yahoo! bbauth, microsoft liveid, google web auth Solutions: OpenID? Meta-identity networks? TBD Privacy issues. Beware. Data mining 101: e.g. finding subversives by mining Amazon wishlists for readers of “1984” Trends Battle of the platform players Having an API as a checklist item. Got an API? Check. Lightweight services & data. rest protocol & json data format New tools. for developers and non-devs Enterprise mashups (mashups behind a firewall) New business models (even more business models will be forthcoming) Recommendations Have an API strategy and a plan Keep it simple: protocols, formats, tools, adoption Provide choices: in order to reach the widest base Treat developers well: and they will treat you well in return
Having a large content-rich website makes life a lot easier when it comes to SEO. Particularly if you’re trying to rank well in Google for a range of different keywords. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to the rescue! “Mash up” multiple APIs together and voila! — unique content. HousingMaps was one of the first and most notable mash-ups. What can you mix-and-match to make into a deep site full of keyword-rich useful content? Start your journey by consulting ProgrammableWeb’s APIs list. This list is famous among programmers. Anybody who’s into APIs will know the site Programmable Web. I had the pleasure of attending the session about APIs presented by John at Programmable Web last week at the Web 2.0 Expo. Here are my notes from John’s session:
Check out my mashup page! Content are mashed up from Amazon, Yahoo Answers, Digg.com, etc.
Do you think my site will do well with some SEO?