Friday, January 25, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Put Your Sample Code in Github

Sample code is one of the elements needed from an API provider.

More and more, the trend is to put your open source sample code on Github. Today, even Google has moved theirs, starting with 36 repos, to Github.

Is Google ditching & svn/hg?

Github is dominating on public repos, as it is free for anyone to create unlimited public repos. More developers, more social coding, and more eyeball on your code.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Facebook Promise to Give Developers 90 days For Major API Changes

Facebook API has been largely criticised for frequently making breaking changes.

As such, they have introduced their 90-days policy.

We are committed to a 90-day breaking change policy. This means Platform changes that would require a code change from developers (security and privacy changes excluded) will be announced at least 90 days before the change goes into effect.

To clarify, there are 4 points to take note of:

  1. Major change/removal of functionality: You have 90 days to comply
  2. Backwards compatible change: Your code should be versatile to new parameters in request/response
  3. Product Change: You will be inform ed.
  4. Privacy/Security Changes: Fix like these will be immediate, even if it is breaking change

Thursday, January 17, 2013

OnTime API

With the enticing prizes (new iMac! iPad! Nexus 7!), I decided to give the contest a try.

I read up OnTime API Doc, which wasn't too bad, except that they DON'T have:
  • Curl examples
  • SDK (none!)
  • Examples (except C#..)
  • Sample request for URL and body
I only need 2 API - first for authentication, then post a feature

These curl commands could help you get started quicker:

1. Get your access token

curl -X GET --data-urlencode grant_type=password  \
--data-urlencode username=yourusername \
--data-urlencode password=yourpassword \
--data-urlencode client_id=yourid \
--data-urlencode client_secret=yoursecret \
--data-urlencode "scope=read write" \

From the JSON response, get the access token which is needed for all other APIs.

2. Post a feature (aka story)

curl -X POST \
--header "Content-Type:application/json" \
-d "{\"item\":{\"name\":\"New stuff\",\"project\":{\"id\":1}}}" \

Note: This assumes you have already created a project (the first is id 1).

With that, tada!~

Fabulous Prizes from OnTime API App Contest

OnTime is organizing a App Competition for developers.

Sharing this as the prizes are pretty cool. I would love to win any of the 10 prizes :)

That's the way for organizing hackathons. At least have something I want to fight for!

Dateline: March 29, 2013 (plenty of time if you start now)

OnTime is a team collaboration software. I have not tried, but I think it is like Jira, Pivotal, Trello, etc. Cool that there is an API. Perhaps I can integrate SMS into it.. hmm..

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Do you hate pricing that says "Contact Sales" ?

Just the other day I wrote about Urban Airship exorbitant pricing, not to mention now they remove their pricing, instead they put up a "Contact Sales" button.

Today, I was checking out Appcelerator, and again their Pricing has a "Contact Sales" button..

Why is pricing getting less transparent?

I hate that. It feels like they treat their customers differently. If I emailed and enquire as an indie developer, I might get conned ?

On the other hand, some others even upload pricing list to Git (to track changes)!

Monday, January 14, 2013

How to Design Awesome API Documentation?

I wish someone or Google has a clear answer to that.

There isn't. Hence I went on to research on the topic. Here are some things that I learnt.

There isn't a CMS that is suitable for API documentation (if there is, please answer here).

Who has the best API Documentation? There is a lot of contenders. For me, it is Parse, Stripe and Google.

Parse has wrote a great article. The best advise for API Docs.

These components are needed:

  • Getting Started (short & quick)
  • Full reference (the API details)
  • Guides (like telling a story)
  • SDK
  • Sample Applications using the SDK
And Parse do what they preach.

Some Technologies Parse seems to use:
  • Marketo - for marketing, web visitor tracking and engagement (>$1,000/mth)
  • Hello Bar - ($29 for solo self hosted, or $4.95 per 100 clicks)
  • Kiss Metric - analytics and feedbacks
  • Google Analytics - website analytics
  • Adroll - ads
  • mixpanel - analytics
  • jquery
  • sizzlejs
  • jquery-waypoints

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Warning: Urban Airship Pricing is Much Steeper Than Competitors

I used to be an advocate for Urban Airship when it comes to sending push notifications.

They are the very first to provide a simplified solution to iOS push notification, and they even offer 1 million push messages per month, for free (which competitors all follow).

But thereafter, it will cost 0.1 cent per push message.

Let's compare the pricing with Parse.

API Provider Per message      Per 1 million message     
Urban Airship      0.1 cent ($0.001) $1,000
Parse 0.007 cent ($0.00007) $70

So, Urban Airship costs 14 times (1000/70) of Parse!

Parse is the obvious choice to me.

I would have choose Parse if it was available in 2009. But it's not late to switch.

What's more, Parse offer not just push messaging. It includes a very awesome mobile cloud backend, signup module with Facebook/Twitter, lost password, push from clients over channels, cloud code, very good documentation, SDKs, etc...

I now advocate for Parse.