Although you may not realize it on the surface, DevHub, the free site builder and hosting platform, is effectively a very sophisticated mashup using over 40 different external APIs. The Seattle-based startup, now with 10,000 site publishers who’ve built over 100,000 sites, have recently launched a major upgrade with new site editing tools, more content (API) partners, and new monetization tools. Their core offering takes data from APIs and other content sources as a way for niche publishers quickly create content-rich sites along with built-in monetization options:
For example: Say you are a sushi-connoisseur. On DevHub you can create a site with a page on your ’sushi experiences’ and another page on ‘how to roll your own sushi’. You can then enhance your ’sushi experiences’ page with restaurant listings and your ‘how to roll your own sushi’ page with how-to videos and relevant sushi-rolling products — all of which have the potential to generate revenue. With a few virtual strokes, that sushi lover site you’ve always wanted to build is now a reality, and you may even make some extra dough to support that sushi habit.
As they note in their FAQ:
while DevHub does offer similar site editing and content management tools to current online solutions, the power of the DevHub platform is in its aggregation and distribution system, allowing us to hook in via APIs to a wide range of content and monetization partners. These integrations are then placed in modules in the editor for users to place on their site to enhance their content and revenue-generation capabilities. As an aggregated ecosystem of developers, we are often able to bring onboard exclusive partners or deals that would typically not be available to the individual developer.
There is a lot of heavy lifting involved in integrating that many APIs, many of which are listed here on ProgrammableWeb, but also includes private partner-only APIs which can be less robust than more mature public APIs. There are also challenges in building the aggregated revenue reporting features DebHub offers their site owners. That’s because each e-Commerce API provider often has their own means of reporting to their API consumers: some have password-protected web pages, some provide downloadable data, and others send updates via email with attachments.
Given these challenges and the lack of standardization across services, it’s impressive to see this many APIs combined to deliver a useful service while hiding all that complexity from the end user.