A Healthier, More Connected World with RunKeeper Health Graph API

Kin Lane
Aug. 18 2011, 09:30AM EDT

RunKeeper, a maker of health and fitness tracking software, has made its Health Graph API available to the public after a closed beta with a small group of developers.  The new API provides access to RunKeeper Health Graph -- a system of individual health connections that create digital map of an individual's personal health.  The Health Graph provides a record of the evolution of an individual's health, including a snapshot of their current physical condition, how this has evolved over time, and how social interactions may have influenced activities and behaviors.

RunKeeper provides a variety of tracking devices from arm bands and sleep devices to the fitbit tracker.  These devices gather health data and store it as part of the Health Graph.  This in turn creates a wealth of data that is perfect for integration into other apps and data visualizations.

Unlike other health and fitness tracking devices like Nike+ (which only has feeds making up an unofficial Nike Plus API), RunKeeper has acknowledged the value of opening up this data, allowing developers to build applications on top of it.  There are already 20+ applications built on the platform -- all available in the apps directory -- providing running, swimming, hiking, mapping and sleep applications for RunKeeper users.

The Health Graph API provides a RESTful interface, using oAuth for authentication against a RunKeeper user’s data.  The API provides access to a user's profile, fitness activities, sleep, nutrition and weight information with API responses in JSON.  There is also an affiliate program offered as part of the RunKeeper Health Graph API platform, incentivizing developers with 50% of revenue from the sale of RunKeeper premier services, including recurring revenue.

RunKeeper's API is part of a growing trend of Web APIs that are connected to devices and sensors. The growth of Internet-enabled devices will open up whole new worlds of applications and visualizations while also testing what RESTful APIs can actually handle as we continue to evolve towards the Internet of things.

Kin Lane I am a programmer and entrepreneur, with a focus on the business of APIs. I study how APIs are changing the business landscape, and the rise of API driven developer ecosystems. I share my insights by blogging on API Evangelist and ProgrammableWeb, and put into action as API evangelist for CityGrid.

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