Tagged: api

rules.io introduces open source API framework: Geekier

reblogged from The last gem you’ll ever need? – thisblog.rules.io.

The Last Gem You’ll Ever Need?

David Anderson — Dec 6th, 2012 —

At rules.io we have benefited from many open source projects, such as Ruby on Rails, D3, and Ember. Now we want to start giving back, with a project called Geekier.

Background: so many APIs, so many gems

It is increasingly the case that building any sort of application, be it for the web, or mobile, or desktop, means connecting to several online services via APIs. As a developer, I mostly view this as a good thing, because it means I can offload all sorts of things that I care about doing well but that aren’t central to how I provide my unique value. I want things like payment handling, exception reporting, and analytics, but I don’t want to build them all myself.

As a frequent consumer of APIs, I’ve looked at lots of API specs and libraries over the years. If you are an API provider, and you’re thinking about writing a client library (or ruby gem, or python egg, or …) then I have one piece of advice for you: don’t do it.

Read the rest at The last gem you’ll ever need? – thisblog.rules.io.

USA Today Latest Media Co. to Realize Open is Better «

USA Today is the latest media company to open up its data via an API, the software interface that makes it easy for outside developers to use another company’s data in their applications. The newspaper — which said that it will launch its open API project later this month — joins a small but growing group that includes The Guardian, the New York Times and National Public Radio. The newspaper says it plans to start releasing APIs for specific sections first, including a sports API that provides access to the paper’s database of salaries for players in Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL and other sports franchises. It will also be releasing data about best-selling books through its books API, and says it will be opening up other parts of its news operation through similar offerings later in the year.

It remains to be seen how much content USA Today provides through its interface, and on what terms. The New York Times only provides an excerpt of its content through its API, and doesn’t allow that content to be used in any venture designed for profit. National Public Radio, meanwhile, has provided full access to all of its content since 2008, and the organization is also working on a project with other publicly-funded entities to come up with a single system that provides access to all their data in one place. There is a tangible upside to an open API as well: NPR says its pageviews have climbed by 80 percent since it released its interface, as users click through from apps that use the service’s content.

KDYKES: It has been since late 2009 that I left my focus on API strategy for @vibe media to focus on growth of ScaleUp Technologies. With @vibe, we were on the right path – the strategy was/is solid. But, it is exciting to see such recognition of this model taking hold in companies of all kinds!

An example of how NOT to build API partners … FMyLife Starts Clamping Down On Its API, Has Some Developers Saying FML

Now, FMyLife disallowed paid applications and advertising when its API launched in February 2009, but the company has been inconsistent about enforcing those rules. Some developers have offered their applications with advertising for some time. And FMyLife has even approved the use of advertising and premium versions in some cases, without anticipating just how popular these applications could become. As it turns out, some of these applications have turned into big businesses in their own right, and some have proven to be drains on FMyLife’s servers. Rather than kill off all applications that are monetizing the service, FMyLife has decided it wants a cut.

KDYKES: Great example of a company who released an API with no real strategy or business structure in mind. Now they are in battle with partners using their API over revenue share – this is only the beginning & I suspect the varying law firms will make more revenue here than any of the players.

San Francisco Launches City App Store

Last month, at WordPress (WordPress) headquarters with leaders from the technology community, we launched DataSF.org. This new web site is designed to improve transparency in government, increase access to City data, and engage our highly skilled workforce to create apps from that data.

After the kick off there was a discussion about next steps for Gov 2.0 in San Francisco with Tim O’Reilly, Matt Mullenweg and other technology innovators. One idea was to create a City App Store to highlight and centralize programs created from City data. This has worked for Apple and Facebook, at last check; there are 60,000 apps available in the Apple App store and more than 350,000 different Facebook apps. Why not create a government app store as well?

KDYKES: It’s official – API’s are popping up everywhere. This is changing the face of the web & app development at a very rapid rate.

What’s next: an eHarmony for Travel? | VentureBeat

The following is a blog comment on a great VentureBeat article. It shows a bit about our perspective on use of the API to power partnerships & business development activities… and why it must be part of the strategic development & business model planning from the beginning.

Mark – Great article – extremely well researched. I also applaud that you put a heavy emphasis on the API partner program as part of the foundation. In my opinion, it should be part of the early strategic development plan for all SaaS co’s. In fact, for this idea, I see that as a go-to-market strategy prior to or instead of developing a destination site due to heavy costs of doing so.

A note to Reuven of Tripbase.com… yes, it would seem your app is definitely very close to Mark’s article thesis. Nice job on your service. Your partner program seems to be providing a great value-proposition, but also seems to be friction laden & would require a heavy traditional outbound sales approach for success. A couple of thoughts… (disclaimer: I’m a bit of an strategy geek & I realize you may have some of this in place)

Open a tiered API as a means of filling your business development pipeline. Use a solution like http://www.3scale.net to manage the tiered versions of the API and to manage monetization of the premium versions. Not suggesting you change your partner revenue model exactly – only widen & lower the barrier to entry to work with your solution.

First tier would be limited-use, perhaps non-commercial for dev. uses only, limited function/result set, result set would push to your travel site or with usage/time limits. Regardless, this tier 1 freely-available API will foster developer interest & allow them to work with your solution and create innovative uses that perhaps your team has not yet thought of. This engaged group becomes your target for the business dev team – inbound marketing at very little cost.

Higher tiers or premium uses could be monetized via metered use, flat monthly fees, per call or some combination. This can ultimately model your current revenue model of the partner program – just with lower friction in the partner development process.

Lastly, integrate a write component to the API and allow the network effect of your API partners to aggregate an ever growing set of inbound (of-course curated) data – allowing all partners to benefit from each other. See BazaarVoice and how they’ve done this with their aggregated product reviews solution.


SaaS companies – take a lesson from Freshbooks…

I don’t remember how I came across this job description on the Freshbooks site, but I’ve gone back to read it at last 20 times & shared with my partner and a few clients. While I admit the position is tempting, this wasn’t the reason. It is because Freshbooks ‘gets it’ in so many ways – and this job description is just one more example. A few points before I share the actual job offer from their site…

  • Unlike Freshbooks, many SaaS companies FAIL to see their API/web services integrations as a key part of their development cycle and product offering. We’re not the only ones that feel this way… check out this post on ProgrammableWeb.com – Saas Vendors Need to Get a Clue About API’s
  • Companies need to cross the chasm from technical integration to the business side of the API integrations. A web services program correctly implemented can add massive leverage, fill the business development pipeline and lead to substantial revenue and market traction.
  • A correctly developed and managed integrations program can not only add net-new revenue, but it can provide barriers to entry to competition and add to the valuation at an early stage in the growth cycle.

Either follow Fresh books example below or talk with us at @vibe media about our performance compensation-based API Powered Partnerships program. But it’s time to view your web integrations from the business angle and not just from the developer/technology angle.

Integrations Business Manager

Are you an entrepreneur at heart? Do you like the idea of leveraging your knowledge and passion for developing new products AND marketing them? Do you love the idea of building relationships and working with partners? If that’s you then we’d love you to consider our role for Integrations Business Manager.

FreshBooks is one of the most popular small business web applications on the Web. But that’s not enough — we want to continually add value for our customer by integrating with the other tools and services our customers use every day. We’ve done a pretty good job so far with some pretty sweet partners and apps – and now need someone to grab hold and drive this business forward.

As our Integrations Business Manager you’ll be responsible for building our Integrations business out. You’ll source new partners that are a fit for our customers, and then help them understand our API, design, and test their integrations to make sure they are FreshBooks worthy. You’ll build a developer network around FreshBooks that creates a steady stream of new, cool apps for FreshBooks. You’ll help us advance our mobile applications and their adoption. And, importantly, you’ll be a marketing genius when it comes to promoting these integrations to our community.

We will be successful if:

  • You accelerate the growth of customer acknowledged awesome add-ons around FreshBooks
  • You drive a boat-load of new business through the relationships with our partners
  • You establish FreshBooks as the friendliest and smartest integrator… ever
  • You demonstrate and qualify the impact of all your efforts so we can all celebrate your success

We absolutely need you to have:

  • A passion for product, partners and marketing — all of them
  • Proven ability to negotiate win-win arrangements with partners
  • A proven commitment to quality, design, and testing
  • Online marketing savvy and ingenuity
  • A rock solid ability to work with technology
  • The ability to make things happen and get things done
  • Entrepreneurial chutzpah


Eggs, Milk, Bread – the World’s First Grocery API

The third largest retailer in the world, Tesco, a grocery-and-more chain largely in the UK, will soon unveil a REST API for its online store (Tesco API profile). Developers will be able to search products, as well as get nutritional information, such as how many calories are in a serving of crisps or biscuits.

The most innovative part of the upcoming API is its authentication of customers, providing developer access to a virtual shopping cart. Included are the customer’s favorites, which could be used for recommendations, or a quick ordering interface.

For the last six months Tesco has been beta testing a limited API with about 150 developers. Last week, Tesco’s Nick Lansley announced changes based on feedback. The results are just about everything one would want in an API: no rate limits, a RESTful interface and an affiliate program to make developers money.

To get a sense of what sort of applications the folks at Tesco envision developers creating, check-out this video from last year’s Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC):

KDYKES: Strategy, API, feedback & nnovation through development community, strategic implementation to showcase the power & zooom, off it goes! They also have powerful incentives such as affiliate commission potential for developers who work with the API. Great case study of the right way to launch a web services program.

check out the full article at the ProgrammableWeb link

Read It Later Launches New iPhone App (But if You Don’t Like It, You Can Build Your Own!)

The Read It Later API

As developer Nate Weiner explains on his blog, “as a solo developer, it’s just not possible for me to develop for every mobile device and browser.” That’s why he decided to open up his API so others could build apps that do everything his does including tagging, syncing, account management, and more.

Hopefully, this new openness will encourage other developers to step in and help build applications for Palm, Android, Blackberry, and Chrome or implement the good features he hears suggested to him on a regular basis.

There’s a good chance that developers will jump on this opportunity – and not just because Read It Later already has a user base of 1 million that grows by 5000 new users per day – that’s just one incentive. The other is that API is open for both free and commercial applications, meaning the first (or best) apps developed for new platforms can actually earn money for their creators, just as Read It Later has done for Nate on the iPhone.

KDYKES: Pay attention to this innovative use of an open API that provides a revenue-sharing incentive for developers who create a pipeline of paid subscription users! Go read the full article on RWW.