Stack Overflow, the innovative and popular programming question and answer service, is planning to open an API. In keeping with their community-centric approach, they are asking developers for input on what features should be included in their API. This recent blog post from Jeff Atwood has the details:
We are now gearing up to build the first official Stack Overflow API.
Now, what do you want to build that uses the API? The perfect API for this task, called from your preferred programming language, would do … what, exactly? What’s clean? What’s simple? What’s supportable and scalable?
A lot of comments have been submitted on the blog post and the same issue posted as a Stack Overflow question. Mobile apps have been a popular request, along with a number of other interesting ideas:
- Visual Studio extension. I picture a v1 that lets you find questions/answers and a v2 that lets you ask questions and post code from within VS.
- How about supporting Microsoft’s OData format http://www.odata.org/(billed as ODBC for the web)? With Office 2010 supporting OData, this would make it very easy to pull StackOverflow data into Excel for analysis. It would also open it up for easy ad-hoc queries from tools like LinqPad (http://www.linqpad.net/).
- I would definitely like to see a real-time feed similar to the Twitter Streaming API (http://apiwiki.twitter.com/Streaming-API-Documentation), including the “firehose” option.
- Basically a stackoverflow version of TweetDeck.
If you have a great idea on how Stack Overflow could be extended and want to influence the future API of this popular web service post your thoughts to the discussion thread. Alternatively you can get more details on the existing, unofficial Stack Overflow API here.