Africa's Largest Social Network Launches API

Romin Irani
Apr. 12 2012, 04:00PM EDT

When it comes to Social Networks, Facebook definitely towers over the rest when it comes to numbers. While Facebook might be hard at work to expand its reach by entering new areas, Mxit which is Africa’s largest social network has plans of its own to expand its base by throwing open its platform via the Mxit API and encouraging  developers to integrate Mxit into their applications.

If you have never heard about Mxit, here are the facts. It is Africa’s largest social network with more than 50 million users. It allows users to connect to each other, send messages, share information and goods and is available on feature phones and the latest Smart Phones. In a region, where Text messaging is expensive, the Mxit network allows sending of free online messages.

Till now, it was a closed platform but that is not true anymore. Mxit has announced a new Developer Portal and opened up its API. The Mxit API currently gives developers access to MXit Authentication and Messaging and publishing apps on Mxit with the Mobi Portal API. You need to register to get started with the API. The API uses OAuth as its authentication mechanism and the documentation page lists the current functionality exposed via the API.

An example REST call to send a message to another Mxit user via your application is shown below:

http://api.mxit.com/message/send/

The above endpoint is invoked via POST with parameters like message body, Mxit  userlist and your application identifier.

Companies have already adopted the Mxit API and one of the API success stories has been Motribe, a South African Development company that build the “JudgeME” app on Mxit. The App allows users to meet each other by uploading their photos and getting rating them. During its first 30 days, the App had more than 600K unique users and 4 million+ photos rated. Read an interview with the founder of Motribe on how to make a successful Mxit app.

Romin Irani Google Developer Expert Cloud 2014. Romin loves learning about new technologies and teaching it to others. Follow me on Google+

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[...] While the ban might not be having the intended effect, the choice of users has clearly been to go with applications that use their data plans and that puts the onus back on the Telcos to promote their data plans more aggressively. Networks and Apps that allow users to exchange chat messages over the network is definitely gaining widespread acceptance over the last year. Another example is that of Mxit, the South African Social Network that has a user base of 50 million+ users and even provides an API. [...]