The latest news on the API economy
Electronic health records management policy makers in the United States want to see APIs become a mandatory standard. But several leadership voices in the healthcare and IT industry, including Dr John Halamka from the Beth Israel Medical Center, say it is too early for APIs to take a central role.
In this, the first part of our series, we explain APIs as an alternative to something that pretty much everyone who has used an application is familiar with: the user interface. Software needs an interface that makes it easy to consume data. Enter, application programming interfaces.
In Part 1, “APIs Are Like User Interfaces--Just With Different Users in Mind” we introduced the idea that an application user interface, or API, is an interface for software. APIs are used by software applications in much the same way that interfaces for apps and other software are used by humans.
In Part 2 of this series, “What Are APIs and How Do They Work?,” we used the standard electrical socket found in most walls as a metaphor for explaining the principles of an API. Imagine what life might be like without such a standard. With no plug, matching socket or standard particulars.
In the last part of this series, “What Are APIs and How Do They Work?”, we covered the key benefits of APIs. Now we’ll focus on the classes of APIs that matter to most to ProgrammableWeb, the ones that are enabled for consumption from across a network or fuel the development of Web applications.
In the previous part of this series, we took a deep look at how Web and browser APIs make the Web programmable while fueling what is known as the API economy. In this part, we will examine how the concept of abstraction is a major contributor to flexibility for API providers.
In the last part of this series, we focused on the API concept of abstraction and the type of flexibility it creates for API providers. In this part, we’ll talk about why the Web’s technology is key enabler for networkable APIs, thus giving birth to the notion of “Web APIs.”
The API economy now spans thousands of API-providing companies across hundreds of categories. Within each category there are multiple offerings, all competing for the affections and money of third-party developers--any one of which could unleash the next API-consuming Zillow, Instagram or Uber.
To be a successful API provider means actively engaging with your developer community to build up your ecosystem of developers and partners. This research report looks at the growth patterns of eight successful API providers and the strategies they employed to gain traction.
Contentful is a content management service managed via APIs that lets users upload and store content, create web and mobile interfaces and more. This case study looks at how Contentful drove engagement and eventually adoption through the use of SDKs, both official and community contributed.
Edmunds is an automotive research website that offers APIs for developers to access automotive content. This case looks at Edmunds’ focus on encouraging third parties to be viable businesses via the Edmunds APIs. Edmunds also focuses on outreach activities including hosting an accelerator program.
This case study looks at the strategies used by Philips Hue that have seen their developer adoption grow by 157%. A clear understanding of developer personas has helped Philips to know the needs and app development environments of their ecosystem which has fostered better developer relations.
Podio is a SaaS provider that lets customers create their own apps and workflows. This study looks at how Podio has focused on their core business use case by supporting technologies often found in the enterprise and how they launched a marketplace to ease discovery of 3rd party integrations.
SimilarWeb provides website and mobile statistics tracking with the company's API offering access to the data streams of their SaaS offering. This case looks at how SimilarWeb has treated their API with a product perspective allowing them to target new markets of end users outside of developers.
TransportAPI provides open data access to all of Greater London's transport routes via a real-time API. This case study looks at how TransportAPI has identified a broader context for the use of their transport data and leveraged that to steadily grow an API as product business.
Pharmacy and wellness retailer Walgreens offers a photo printing service that can be integrated with via their Photo Prints API. This case study looks at how Walgreens shares key sales trends data and provides discounts that developers can pass onto end users to encourage seasonal photo printing.
WePay is a payment processing company focusing on platform businesses. WePay grew it's API by 600% in 2014 and this case study looks at how this growth was keyed by a refresh of its developer portal, including sample code and tutorials, to refine the messaging towards platform oriented businesses.
Success for an API provider depends on a number of factors, all of which can affect the growth of their developer ecosystem. The studies in this series looked at a number of strategies used including API developer support, API business model, developer onboarding, API discoverability, and more.
We spend a lot of time talking about developer experience (DX) and nurturing the developer community. But popular opinion is that DX is at odds with enterprise structure and function. What if the developer community was looked at as an important part of the overall enterprise strategy?
According to Andy Jones, the nature of innovation influences how you build your developer community. This article looks at the innovation value chain when applied within an enterprise and how creating a framework of excellence and innovation can help enterprises engage with the developer community.