Why, you may ask, would Zappos--which you probably know as that online shoe store with the great return policy--need an API, much less a developer platform? Well, Zappos doesn't just sell shoes these days; they also carry men's and women's clothing, handbags, housewares, and other related products. And if there's one thing online shoppers love, it's new ways to shop.
Zappos is serious about building a robust and user-friendly platform. In addition to its Developer Portal, they've set up a Twitter account and a Public API mailing list. The Zappos API team recently used that mailing list to announce some updates to their API, including bug fixes, updated documentation, and their intention "to start being a bit more vocal on our Twitter account."
It's easy to get started with the Zappos API. Existing Zappos customers can get an API key right away, after logging in and accepting the licensing agreement. The current REST API gives access to product information, including keyword search, full product details and images, and reviews. Developers can also get logos and links for the various product brands, and statistics showing what was just bought on Zappos.com. There's also auto-complete for search suggestions. The default API limit is 2,500 calls per day, but you can request more if your app really needs it.
Customer data is not currently available through the API, but some may be offered after OAuth is implemented.
The API team is also publishing developer profiles on their blog. The first interview features the creator of the ShoesNBags iPhone app, which lets shoppers browse and buy from Zappos on mobile devices, something Zappos only recently made possible. Other API clients include the official Zappos iPad app and the Zappos plugin for Seesmic desktop. The API team are also preparing a profile on how Zappos uses their own API on zappos.com itself.
With the slogan "We put the API in escAPIsm and take the API out of vAPId," the Zappos API team promises great things. And Zappos has shown that it can deliver.