Intuit recently launched an API for its QuickBooks Online service. Currently the API is in beta, but for an early beta, it appears to be thorough and solid.
Clearly experienced in API development for the needs of business applications, Intuit already provides detailed documentation, a thorough list of API methods to access quite a few data items featured in QuickBooks online, and a strong security process for authenticating users, despite being in early beta. One can also see a consistent pattern in the structure of the API methods, with each QuickBooks item having a similar method for retrieval, updates and changes, creation of items deletion of items, and even search queries. Furthermore, Intuit’s use of Oauth a secure API for the needs of business customers.
There’s still more to come before next year’s launch. Intuit acknowledged that more item types will be made accessible through this API, although the current set is all that is planned for the V1 launch. I also found that the documentation, although detailed, needs some spice – perhaps through code examples, programming libraries or tutorials to help developers get up and running quickly. I’m not sure if this will come with the end of the beta, but from previous experience with Intuit’s APIs I expect additional development resources to be provided. Intuit tends to provide plenty of development resources, although finding the information to begin development can be a challenge. But that can be expected for a larger, business/enterprise focused platform.
Intuit’s plan, according to the original beta invitiation, indicated that the platform is intended to launch in January 2011. Developers are encouraged to start working on the platform now, as Intuit is highlighting promotional opportunities in its initial email to developers:
As an IPP developer, you now have the opportunity to provide additional value through building applications that integrate with QuickBooks Online (QBO) data, filling key customer needs and providing great solutions to Intuit’s fast-growing QBO customer base.
We’ll be driving a ton of users to your apps; with one click, a QuickBooks Online user will be able to immediately access (try and buy) a list of IPP apps that specifically integrate with QBO data—all while using their existing QBO username and password.
This is part of Intuit’s Partner Platform (IPP), which encourages developers to build services within Intuit, in addition to using Intuit’s API. The API is in open beta, and publicly available to try.