Over at APIEvangelist.com
, Kin Lane has a great list of "Successful APIs to look at when planning your API"
These include Ebay and Flickr. It's a great list, showing how APIs can
be very different from each other. Some are OData-y (Ebay), some still
support SOAP as well as REST (e.g. Amazon), and some are closer to REST
Nirvana than others [if you want to make a RESTafarian's head explode,
show them Flickr's delete operation which uses a POST.
one thing all these APIs have in common is that information about them
is publicly available, to anyone, and anyone with the right credentials
can use them. APIs which are used inside organizations, or within groups
of trading partners, are not mentioned. At the Cloud Identity Summit
last month, Romin Irani
Cisco called these "Dark API's". The analogy is with Dark Matter. It's
all around us, but we can't see it. Organizations are using enterprise
APIs, which the outside world may not know about. Same goes for APIs
used within products. I've written before, back in 2009, about why there isn't a Pandora API.
Fast forward to 2012 and Pandora still doesn't have a public
It doesn't fit their business model to have one [something that's worth
a whole blog post in its own right]. But you can bet Pandora has their
own API definitions they use internally. Effectively, that's a "dark
API" too, even though it's for an entertainment service. So the
distinction is not about "Enterprise versus Consumer" anymore (echoes of
Eve Maler's excellent OAuth 2 piece
For many of Vordel's API Server
customers in the healthcare and financial transactions sectors, it
doesn't make sense to have a "Public API". But they still want to
leverage the benefits of APIs (e.g. for a HMO to talk to its hospitals).
Eric Knipp from Gartner
been doing some really good research on this, about the distinction
between "Public APIs" and "Enterprise APIs". Whatever terms we end up
using ("Dark APIs", "Enterprise APIs"), it's definitely a conversation