Here at ProgrammableWeb, we've spent the last couple of years studying the myriad APIs being released into the wild and have been quietly adjusting our data model to accomodate the direction that the API economy is taking. This week's news that GoDaddy has submitted a specification for consideration as an IETF standard falls into one of the patterns that we've observed and adjusted our model to; that of de facto and de jure standard API specifications with which multiple implementations (from different API providers) comply.
For example, there may be one standard specification for all the OpenStack APIs, but many implementations. A ProgrammableWeb user should be able to not only find such a standard in our directory, but also get a list of the compliant implementations (a feature that's coming soon). Another example of this is the Mobile Data API that was proposed by Google earlier this year and with which many mobile carriers comply. This week, GoDaddy has entered a similar standard API proposal into the public domain called Domain Connect 2.0.
According to this week's press release, "GoDaddy has published Domain Connect as an IETF informational standard, so any domain or cloud/Web service provider can take advantage of it, no matter their affiliation with GoDaddy." However, based on what we know about the standards process at the IETF, the Domain Connect specification's ascendancy to an approved standard in such a short period of time would have broken a land speed record for the IETF. As it turns out, the spec is merely at the proposal stage according to GoDaddy senior vice president of Domains Engineering Charles Beadnall. "It is [currently] a draft" Beadnall told ProgrammableWeb. "The status is that it is out there in the public, open for feedback and adjustment. It is not a final ratification."
Even so, anybody who has ever gone to an Internet registrar to claim a domain name and then tried to marry some other service to that domain (with all the proper DNS configurations in place) will immediately understand the benefit of GoDaddy's proposition. For example, imagine setting up an e-commerce website using service providers like Squarespace or Wix and then going back to your Internet registrar to make sure that the domain you just registered is set up to properly point to and respond to the website you just finished building. It's a process that's not for the faint of heart. And it's not just about setting up e-commerce sites. You may choose to host your email server with Google or Microsoft or your blog with Wordpress. No matter what service provider you use, the instructions for attaching that service to your newly registered domain can be daunting (as evidenced by this how-to).
In proposing this standard, GoDaddy is seeking to take all the friction out of the process by offering service providers like Squarepace, Wix, Google, Microsoft, Wordpress and others a registrar-agnostic API that they can use to programmatically configure all the necessary DNS entries. This would be in lieu of making end users laboriously crawl through a bunch of forms and then praying that they've done it all correctly. According to Beadnall, "the three biggest registries on the planet" (GoDaddy, eNom, and Name.com) are on board to offer implementations of the standard API so that service providers like Microsoft (for Office 365) and Squarespace, both of which are also on board with the proposed standard, can programmatically configure the necessary DNS entries to get customers up and running. Other companies that have signed-on to the proposal are WiseStamp and Shopify.
Beadnall went on to explain to ProgrammableWeb that the sort of access that a provider will get to the API will depend on the type of provider they are. An email service provider like Microsoft, for example, will get a different level of access to the API (because of all the special DNS entries that have to be made for an email server) than an e-commerce provider like Shopify would. In terms of GoDaddy's implementation of the API, Beadnall said that the program will not be open to public developers and that any service providers wanting access will have to be approved by his team at GoDaddy.