Infrastructure APIs: New Site in a Box

Adam DuVander
Mar. 19 2010, 01:35AM EDT

Got an idea for a new website? It's easier than ever to build a first-class application by offloading some of the harder stuff to other services. Read on and discover that your new site is already halfway built.

Host in the Cloud

Sure, you could host anywhere, but then you'll eventually have to deal with the problems of scaling your site. Not so when you run your site off the top of the networks of huge technology companies.

Use the Google App Engine platform to run web apps on Google's infrastructure, the same scalable systems that run Google applications. Use the platform to run your apps reliably, even if you have heavy load and data needs. The environment has dynamic web serving, persistent storage with queries, sorting and transactions, automatic scaling and load balancing, APIs for authenticating users and sending email using Google Accounts, and a local testing environment. Read more at our Google App Engine API profile.

Amazon EC2Amazon EC2 stands for Elastic Compute Cloud. It costs money, but you pay pennies by the hour. The resizable capacity in the cloud provides you with complete control of your computing resources, paying only for what you need. Read more at our Amazon EC2 API profile.

Store Your Data in the Cloud

Of course you'll have some data to store online, and now there are plenty of cloud storage APIs to help. We've 20 storage APIs in our directory to choose from.

box.netOne API that's been seeing a lot of new apps on their platform lately is from box.net. Their platform makes it easy for you to utilize their storage for your application. Developers have built apps that can upload, download, and share files from Box.net accounts. Read more at our Box.net API profile.

Offload the Registration Process

RPXRPX handles the user interface, authentication, and import of user profile and registration data for any web site. It's built by JanRain, a company known for its work with OpenID, but RPX will allow any type of registration: Username/password, Facebook connect, Twitter and any site that implements OpenID (Yahoo, Google and more). Read more at our RPX API profile.

Run a Solid Beta Program

PrefineryPrefinery is a system to outsource your beta invite process. Rather than writing the invitation logic yourself, simply send an invitation code to Prefinery for verification. You also get analytics, so you can find out more about how (and how often) your testers are using your product.

Read our full Prefinery coverage or check out our Prefinery API profile.

Send Emails Easily From Your App

SendGridSendGrid is for in-application email. It's not for newsletters, but rather the notification and other emails you send your users. Those can slow down your site and get trapped as spam. SendGrid provides a cloud service that grows with your email demands, and provides email analytics to track opens and clicks. Read more at our SendGrid API profile.

Implement a few of these APIs and you'll have a new site without writing hardly a line of code. Look for future posts describing e-commerce and marketing for your site with some other helpful APIs.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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[...] The bulk of ZenCoder’s useful service comes via its API. The site provides video encoding at six cents per minute of video. That means your site can accept uploads and then let ZenCoder worry about formats. We wrote about services that take care of the harder stuff in Infrastructure APIs: New Site in a Box. [...]