Below is a good summary on APIs by Rich Mendis, co-founder & chief product officer of the company AnyPresence.
From startups to large enterprises, most companies understand the need to create APIs around their products and services to drive adoption, improve integration and generate an ecosystem around them. However, while APIs provide the fundamental building blocks to reach a developer audience, other assets are required to help developers consume those APIs efficiently and securely.
If you have launched or plan to launch a developer program around your APIs, you must know that an “if you build it, they will come” strategy is not the best course of action. With modern apps now running on so many smartphones and tablets, including emerging smart devices such as wearables and appliances, developers need a wide array of time-saving tools to help reduce the “time to hello world” when trying to get your APIs working.
Rich Mendis, co-founder, chief product officer, AnyPresence, has identified five components that are key to helping build successful developer ecosystems around your APIs.
- Dynamic Documentation: Static documentation often gets out of date quickly and, let’s face it, developers hate reading documentation anyway. To drive API adoption, you need to have interactive docs that help developers see how your APIs work, and ideally, you provide them with docs that are specific to their programming language of choice.
- Sample Backend Server: Many solutions require consumption of APIs from a backend server, rather than a client-side app. Providing a sample backend server with pre-built integration to your APIs is extremely helpful, and allows you to share best practices around security and performance.
- Cross-Platform SDKs: Providing SDKs for a variety of client and server platforms is important to appealing to the widest possible developer audience. Ideally, these SDKs provide documentation, test scripts, and a modeling layer to abstract the API calls into objects and methods that are easily understood.
- Cross-Platform User Interface (UI) Kits: Why not give developers fully working sample apps across different platforms that show them how your APIs are meant to be consumed. These UI kits should work with the aforementioned SDKs and backend server, and could even be used as a starting point for the developer’s own app.
- Live Sandboxes: The ultimate productivity solution for your developer ecosystem is to let them interact with a live sample application, and then download sample backend server, SDK, and UI kit code right from within your developer portal. As a bonus, let them pick a template, configure it, have the code pushed to their Github account, and deploy the backend server in their Heroku or Amazon EC2 instance.