Gowalla said a writeable API was coming soon. Today, the check-in API is available to developers. Though it took longer than anyone expected, the announcement and the API have some nice aspects to help developers use the new features.
Along the the announcement of the API, Gowalla provided guidelines for its use. These best practices help explain why Gowalla was hesitant to have a check-in API and also communicate a set of values to developers, which could be useful within any community. From the developer announcement:
Example App (with Code)
Rather than just turn developers loose to the documentation, Gowalla provides an example app. You can demo it and even download the code. Providing working examples can jumpstart a developer’s work. It also helps reinforce the guidelines by showing the best practices in action.
Sandbox for Testing
Getting an app just right requires a lot of testing. When each test is a write to a live system, that sullies the data (and with the case of check-ins, could annoy your friends). Gowalla provides a special endpoint of the API just for testing check-ins.
The above doesn’t even mention the thorough documentation, complete with full JSON response. With these excellent examples of an API launch, we find ourselves almost forgetting how long developers have requested this feature from Gowalla.