LinkedIn’s Javascript API Aims to Spread Platform Adoption

Romin Irani, October 7th, 2010

LinkedInThe biggest online social network for business contacts has made its next move to increase adoption of its API. LinkedIn has released a Javascript API, which allows for accessing all of the company’s APIs directly from browser-based apps. And authentication, a difficult task for some developers, is all handled by LinkedIn’s library.

In a move clearly targeted towards business websites, the official blog announced early access to an easy to use Javascript API and support for OAuth 2. The OAuth 2 User Agent Flow implementation makes it dead simple for anyone to incorporate a “Sign In with LinkedIn” button to any web page with a few lines of Javascript. Your application can now simply offload all the OAuth permission process via this simple script. Once the permission is given, you can now use the Javascript API, that exposes all the existing LinkedIn REST API calls.

The Javascript API Documentation page is well laid out and the goal is clearly to get the developer started with minimum effort. What is particularly nice is a sample application called Instant Search, which uses the new “Sign In with LinkedIn” button and then uses the People Search API, all via the new LinkedIn Javascript API. There is also sample code for a People Search web application built with the API.

Last November, LinkedIn opened access to its platform via its API. With the release of the new Javascript API and the Sign In widget, LinkedIn has scored key points. The first one is that it has opened up the possibility further of establishing an individual’s LinkedIn credentials as the preferred Identity across business web sites. And second, the dead simple to use Javascript API should see further adoption by developers and interesting mashups in the day to come.

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