Get On It. Build Your Own API

Recently, I attended an event in San Francisco called SFNewTech, where six companies showed off their APIs to a crowd of 300+ enthusiastic developers.

Many local rock bands can’t draw a crowd like that. What’s going on with these APIs? Why are they so damn popular? And are they getting the girls?

APIs open up a world of development possibilities very quickly. Just a week prior at SocialDevCamp in Chicago, I interviewed Craig Ulliott about his presentation “Why you should create an API.” Ulliott is the founder of whereIveBeen.com, which was purchased by TripAdvisor. Now he works there as the Director of Social Platforms.

Ulliott outlined some of the advantages of creating your own API, along with tips on what to do and not do when you finally choose to build one.

Advantages

  • It forces you to create clean code.
  • It’s a breakaway from the traditional business logic of developing for your app or website.
  • It’s extensible. As your company grows it allows you to create a developer network.
  • Developers are expensive. It’s the right approach for a start up to create something in a hurry.

Tips on Building Your API

  • Use Ruby on Rails. It’ll take a week as opposed to the six months it used to take.
  • Don’t over-complicate things.
  • Follow standards. You don’t want people to have to learn a new method just to use your API.

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