Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How much does it cost to advertise on ProgrammableWeb?

When it comes to the king of APIs website, it is not, it is ProgrammableWeb.

ProgrammableWeb has a comprehensive directory of APIs, and mashups created. It also regularly blogs on API news. It draws in huge traffic from developers, the number one website where developers go to. That makes it the undisputed king.

Because of how good they are, they naturally becomes the number one choice for advertising API products.

I thought it is good to share information about advertising on ProgrammableWeb:

  • 550,000 pageviews per month
  • 170,000 unique visitors per month
  • For a tiny 125x125 ad on the right side, it costs $2,500 per mth, that is $4.50 CPM. There are other banners, of course, at higher price
  • 40% of traffic comes from US
That makes ProgrammableWeb a pretty good place for advertising your APIs.

Ah.. lastly, I hope this website will one day be the king of APIs :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Trend is JSON as Response Format

Many API providers are adopting JSON as the standard, and only, format in API.

Take twitter trends API for example, which they have announced they will switch the API to JSON only.

The reason quoted is that the usage for XML format is significantly low. So if you are designing an API today, you can consider support just JSON. That's the trend.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Free Conference API from Speek

Speek provides a simple API for doing free conferencing, that is speaking to multiple people on a line.

It is interesting that they are adopting a free model, with brief audio advertisements inserted into the call. 

A promising API provider in the voice communication space. Watch out for the monkeys!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Google Translate is Now a Paid API

Google has announced a paid version.

The language translation service costs $20 per million characters of text (or approximately $0.05/page, assuming 500 words/page). To use, look at their v2 doc.

While Google is coming up with paid APIs, developers are digging out secret, free APIs, like the speech recognition API in Chrome.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lessons from Stack Exchange

Kevin Montrose has posted on the history of Stack Exchange API and a subsequent post on the mistakes.

One cool thing about their API design is that they have mandated using Gzip in their response. The reason is that they felt compression/decompression using CPU resources is cheaper than bandwidth. 

Refer to their gzip usage.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vectorized Requests in API

Vectorized requests is an API technique that is becoming more popular these days. It is a way of requesting a multiple resources in a single http request

For example, you can request multiple users with the following:;1002;1003/
These technique is seen in twitter API and StackExchange API.

It is an efficient technique if your API usually results in developers calling the same resource multiple times. Why make 100 request for 100 users, when you can make just 1 request?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Developer Contest

Box Mobile Dev Challenge provides API for sharing files on their platform. A mobile dev challenge is now open, with 1st prize $25,000 cash! You have up till Sept 9 to submit an app.

twilio & Box
twilio regularly organize developer contest. For this week, they have partnered with Box to organize one. By using twilio API and Box API, you are eligible for twilio contest. There will be 3 winners, and the first will get an 11" macbook air!

Kik Awards
Kik provides SDK for Android and iOS to share content via Kik messenger. They are giving out 3 cash award of $5,000 each for apps submitted by Sep 5th.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wait, What Does Your Startup Do?

It is always easy to explain what your startup do in terms of "X for Y", where is X is a well known business. For example:

This idea generation service is provided by itsthisforthat.

They even cheekily created an API for that.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Interactive API Doc from Wordnik

Wordnik have created a one of a kind API Doc. It is not only descriptive, but also at the same time interactive (API Explorer).

Take a look at its interactivity.

They have also provided Swagger, a framework that style your API Doc like Wordnik's.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

9 API Lessons from Foursquare Engineering Team

Foursquare is going to sunset their v1. With their new v2, they have blogged about their experience in designing API – Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

They are very valuable lessons for anyone designing API.

I sum up the 9 lessons:

  1. OAuth and HTTPS-only: OAuth is easy to implement on both server and client. Offloading encryption to HTTPS is a no brainer.
  2. REST lite: Resource-ful for key objects, with associated actions. Avoid deeply nested URLs. Avoid having multiple ways to do the same thing. Use only POST and GET. Avoid PUT and DELETE.
  3. Generic structures and indirection: Wordier and more explicit JSON, but less likely to break with future changes.
  4. Documentation: API explorer is good. It is worth hacking up a simple documentation generation system for the endpoints.
  5. Timestamps as seconds since epoch: Not human-readable, but so easy to parse, and nobody has complained.
  6. Versioning: Sometimes, you need to take back some decisions, sunsetting certain a old version, and out with a new version. It is needed.
  7. Category representation: Should have
  8. Object consistency and level of detail: Having a "compact" and "full" representation
  9. Envelope: Wrap responses in a meta block 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Phoneify API: Verify Phone Number With SMS or Call

Phonesify provides a plugin for website to verify a user's phone number. This can done either via sending an SMS with a verification code, or making a voice call and reading out the code.

Verifying phone number, especially on mobile apps, is getting more popular. WhatsApp, Viber, Blogger, Facebook.. to name a few. Verifying phone number is also more popular because email verification is not very strong to be used as an identity anymore. However, a trade off is that phone number verification is more costly.

The price of using Phoneify doesn't come cheap. Right now, they have not provide their pricing model, but they claimed to give 50 free verifications, which upon sign up will show a $20 credits. Hence, I estimate it to be 40 cents per verification. If it is 40 cents, it is a very costly verification, considering that SMS is as cheap as 1 cent.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

FullContact API: Know more about a contact

FullContact is 1 simple API that query with a person email, and returns with more information – name, phone number, organizations, social network profiles, etc..

If your application requires retrieving more info from an email, there is a chance this API will help.

They claim to have over 1 million contacts in their database. Impressive, but still not quite a lot, considering there are 6 billion people in the world. 

It cost 3 cents per contact.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Google Acquired Dealmap, with API for Local Coupons

With the recent acquisition of The Dealmap, Google now adds to its arsenal another great API.

The Dealmap API let developers add and search local deals.

Google might not have a successful Groupon product, but acquiring such an API now could help path it's way to that market.

Friday, August 5, 2011

What is an API Developer Advocate?

In my first introduction post, I introduced myself as a Developer Advocate.

So what is an API developer advocate?

He is a mix of a few personalities:

  • Developer – He has to know how to write codes. He might not be the best coder, but he needs to know the basic. After all, he talks to developers. Speaking a common language is a big plus.
  • Hacker – He must have a love for hacking. Given knowledge of an API, he should know what fun apps he can "hack up". There must be elements of both love and fun during hacking.
  • Business Development – He needs to understand how APIs can evolve businesses for others. He needs to be able to step into their shoes, and think how an API can benefit others.
  • Sales and Marketing – He also needs to help convert leads to sales. Attending developer conference/workshop and drinking beer are common activities.
A good example of developer advocates comes from Google. They have a big team to advocate on their products.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What is Killer API?

Killer APIs are awesome, cool, powerful, new, or innovative APIs that all developers should know.

Everyday, I come across all sorts of APIs. Some are pretty cool, some are pretty handy, some can earn you big bucks by writing a couple lines of codes.. I wanted to share these APIs.

In my day job, I am a Developer Advocate, and I know the API business pretty well. I know how APIs are designed, I know the business model that drives API providers, and I see how API benefits developers.

This is a blog I have setup to talk just about API.

Specifically killer API.