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API Showcase News

These are the news items I've curated in my monitoring of the API space that have some relevance to the API showcase conversation and I wanted to include in my research. I'm using all of these links to better understand how the space is testing their APIs, going beyond just monitoring and understand the details of each request and response.

API Providers Could Add A Page To Showcase Their Bots

I am coming across more API providers who have carved off specific "skills" derived from their API, and offering up as part of the latest push to acquire new users on Slack or Facebook. Services like Github, Heroku, and Runscope that API providers and developers are putting to work increasingly have bots they employ, extending their API driven solutions to Slack and Facebook.

Alongside having an application gallery, and having an iPaaS solution showcase, maybe it's time to start having a dedicated page to showcase the bot solutions that are built on your API. Of course, these would start with your own bot solutions, but like application galleries, you could have bots that were built within your community as well.

I'm not going to add a dedicated bot showcase page until I've seen at least a handful in the wild, but I like documenting these things as I think of them. It gives me some dates to better understand at which point did certain things in the API universe begin expanding (or not). Also if you are doing a lot of bot development around your API, or maybe your community is, it might be the little nudge you need to be one of the first APIs out there with a dedicated bot showcase page.


If You Are Proud Of Your API Patents Publish Your Portfolio And Showcase Them

I'm going to keep beating the patent API drumbeat, until I bring more awareness to the topic, and shine a light on what is going on. While I will still be my usual self and call out the worst behavior in the space, I am also going to try and be a little more friendlier around my views, and try and help bring more options to the table. This is a serious problem, nobody is talking about, and one that has many dimensions and nuances--if you want my raw stance on API patents, you can read it here

One area I wanted to try and cover, in response to my friends trying to convince me their aren't bad people, in having patents. I know you aren't, and it isn't my goal to make you look bad in this, it is only to shine light on the entire process, how broken it is, and call out the worst offenders. If you truly believe in patents, protecting the work you've done, and that your intentions are good, share your patent portfolio with the world, and showcase it like you do the other aspects of the work you do. You will craft a press release about everything else you do, do the same for your patents. 

I do not think patents are bad. I think ill-conceived patent ideas, that haven't been properly vetted by the under resourced USPTO, that are used in back door dealings as leverage, and litigated in a court of law are bad. I'll take your word that your patents are good, and you aren't operating in any of these areas, if you are public, transparent, and openly proud of them, as you state in private conversations.

Part of the purpose of my research is to encourage good behavior in the sector, by highlight the common building blocks of the space. I think I will add a patent portfolio building to my research. While I have ZERO examples to highlight, I encourage API companies to do this, and would love to highlight in a positive way, any company that is straight up enough to showcase their patents. If you are proud of your API patents, and do not have bad intentions in having them, please publish your portfolio, show case them as you would anything else you are doing--help bring API patents out of the shadows.


Time Tracking Platform Harvest Moves API Docs and App Showcase to Github

Time Tracking API platform Harvest has embraced Github as part of their API ecosystem. I'm always on the hunt for examples of API providers using Github, so I figured I'd showcase Harvest's creative use of the social coding platform.

Starting with their documentation, the Harvest team has moved the API documentation to a Github repository, allowing developers to "watch" the API, get updates when changes are made, asks questions or even contribute to the API docs by submitting a pull request.

Harvest is also using the wiki portion of their Github repo for a developer application gallery they are calling Community Creations and Hacks, where they showcase innovative uses of the Harvest API--currently displaying 20 integrations by Harvest users.

I'm currently tracking on 11 separate uses of Github for API management, and always on the hunt for new ways to use Github to support API ecosystems. Nice move Harvest!


A 3rd Party API Showcase for Your API

I stumbled across the Twitter Counter API in my monitoring for the API Stack this morning. The Twitter Counter API allows you to retrieve key metrics on any Twitter account like username, url and avatar.  All data you can get via the Twitter API, but with Twitter Counter API you get additional information like account growth statistics and ranking, that Twitter doesn't provide at all.

I find it fascinating that someone can build an API to augment an existing API, which is why I keep talking about it, I guess :) We are seeing a more standardized version of this with API aggregation providers like Singly and Adigami, where they not only aggregate APIs from a variety of sources, they also build entirely new APIs based the added value that is created after they are brought together.

Thinking about if further, it would be cool if you could submit your API to be listed in your parent API providers API area. Think of APIhub and Mashape, but every API area would have its own 3rd API marketplace. API providers often allow 3rd party developers to submit code libraries and samples to be listed as resources, as well as applications for listing in an application showcase. So it makes sense to potetially allow for your developers to submit APIs for validation and publishing into a designated area.

It seems to me that we shouldn’t exist as islands, we should be able to invite in other API resources built on top of our APIs, or that compliment our APIs. We should also have terms of use and pricing models that invite others to take our API resources and deploy in other ecosystem, building the next wave of BaaS providers that will be delivering specialized stacks of resources for developers to efficiently build mobile and web apps.


Does Your API Showcase Its DOers?

Poster boy for how to properly run your API ecosystem properly, Twilio, recently updated their DOer Gallery to highlight developers in the Twilio ecosystem that build cool stuff on the popular voice and SMS API.

Twilio has the best record I’ve seen of any API, when it comes to showcasing and being loved by their developer community, and I'm sure the DOer Gallery plays an important role in that.

The Twilio DOer Gallery has the following features:

  • Personal Details
  • Short Bio
  • Skills
  • Other Profiles
  • Projects

Devloper Galleries like Twilios might not be for every API platform. But if you have a passionate base of developers you might want to consider giving them their own profile and a gallery where they can not just discover and interact with each other, it can let other companies find potential developers to execute projects via your API.

A Developer Gallery can be a great way to give your API developers some love and attention. Twilio even features developers from their DOer Gallery on their blog in a "DOer of the Month".

Would showcasing your “API DOers” benefit your API community?


Factual Launches App Gallery to Showcase Data Apps

Factual has launch a new application gallery to showcase the diverse number of applications built using data provided by Factual.

You can search for apps, browse by category, and filter by open source, paid or free apps.  Looks like there are about 18 apps in the directory currently ranging from augmented reality to daily deals.

The Factual App Gallery isn’t a particularly unique launch, we are seeing app showcases popup within many APIs, but it shows that Factual is gaining steam, and I think it shows the appetite for building apps around datasets is growing.


Showcase Your API Developers and Their Applications

Do you have a cool application built on top of your API? (Hopefully you do!)

I'm sure there are some amazing developers who have worked hard on developing applications that make use of your API. They have seen the value your API delivers and built an application that extends that value to their users.

An application showcase could be an important building block of your API community. An application showcase can provide an great way to reward your developers with exposure. It also will make them feel like an important part of your community. This is a great way to encourage their participation in other areas of your API ecosystem.

An application showcase also can inspire new developers looking for ideas of how they can use your API. Developers might not understand how to put your API to use, and seeing how other community members have used the API may help. You never know -- your community may even show you some ways of using your API that you never have thought of.

You can see application showcases being use by successful APIs such as Zemanta, Paypal, Google, and even the World Bank.

Consider an application showcase for your API developer community.

bit.ly API contest - Building Block Showcase

Holding an API contest is a great way to spur innovation around your API and its community.

bit.ly is a popular URL shortening service that offers an API as part of its core software-as-a-service.

In January 2009 it held a successful API contest and is looking to do it again with a new bit.ly API contest.

The prizes offered::
  • 1st prize - Makerbot Thing-O-Matic 3D Printer
  • 2nd prize - 1TB USB hard drive enclosed in a vintage nintendo game (Zelda, Metroid, etc)
  • 3rd prize - Set of BuckyBalls magnetic building spheres
bit.ly encourages developer to be creative and come up with unexpected uses, but it also plants a few ideas that the company woul'd like to see developers work on.

There are a lot of developers that may know about your API, but not actively involved. Your developers may need a little bit of motivation to get them working.

An API contest is a great way to light the fire under your development community, stimulate innovative uses of your API, and generate some buzz around your API community.

LinkedIn Labs - Building Block Showcase

LinkedIn has released an API labs to showcase various internal projects using the LinkedIn API.

LinkedIn Labs hosts a small set of projects and experimental features built by the employees of LinkedIn. They are published demonstrations and intended to be low-maintenance experiments and may be added and removed over time based on popularity and support.

Four projects the Labs showcases are:
  • NewIn - This application shows new members joining LinkedIn from around the world.
  • ChromeIn - Integrate LinkedIn directly into Google Chrome. Easy access to your LinkedIn updates, anytime.
  • Instant Search - A sample application to search LinkedIn, built over the new Linkedin Javascript APIs.
  • Signal - Signal is aimed at making it easy for all professionals to glean the most relevant insights from the never-ending stream of status updates and news.
  • An API Labs is a great way to showcase experimental and innovative projects that utilize your API.
Encouraging your internal staff to spend time on Labs projects and showcasing on site can improve internal understanding of challenges faced by developers when integrating with your API.

An API Labs environment can be extended to your API developers and partners as well. This is a great way to encourage innovation and building community around your API.

If you think there is a link I should have listed here feel free to tweet it at me, or submit as a Github issue. Even though I do this full time, I'm still a one person show, and I miss quite a bit, and depend on my network to help me know what is going on.