The Three Cs of API Websites: What’s Most Important?

Adam DuVander, August 17th, 2011

We see a lot of APIs. Our directory lists over 3,500 APIs, with dozens of new ones added every week. If you’re a developer, you probably see a lot of APIs, too. Like us, you probably know a good one when you see it, but we’d like to be able to help you identify the developer-friendly APIs and pick them out of the crowded pack. That’s where our “three Cs” come in and where we could use your help refining this system of API evaluation.

  • Clarity: Do developers know what to do?
  • Cost: Is it available and obvious?
  • Community: How are developers supported?

We hope you’ll help us by taking this quick survey on the Three Cs. Clarity, Cost and Community are how we’ve broken down the important aspects of developer programs and API websites. Each has criteria we believe helps developers create the best applications they can.

In addition to seeing a lot of APIs, we see a handful of API surveys. Time and again developers say “good documentation” is the most important thing. The three Cs all encompass documentation in some way, so we’re looking to dig a little deeper.

What’s more important–client libraries or an API reference? There isn’t a definitive answer to that question, or any other we could ask about other criteria. But we’d like to hear what you think. And we know we probably missed something, too, so we hope you’ll let us know about it.

We’ll publish the aggregated results to this blog and we’ll also use it to help you find developer-friendly APIs. Please take the survey and let us know what’s important to you.

Tags: Issues
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5 Responses to “The Three Cs of API Websites: What’s Most Important?”

August 17th, 2011
at 11:41 am
Comment by: Jason

What about capacity?

August 17th, 2011
at 11:47 am
Comment by: Adam DuVander

Can you tell me more about what you mean by capacity? We sort of handle this with rate limits, but are you referring to how much an API can scale? How might we determine that?

August 17th, 2011
at 11:44 pm
Comment by: Bill

I would guess Jason means throttling. We have attempted to use APIs that make no mention of throttling, only to find out in testing that we can only make X calls in a minute. Anything beyond this is throttled. Believe it or not, this API was for taking orders. Bad implementation of denial of service protection. We picked another partner who did not have throttled APIs.

December 13th, 2011
at 4:59 am
Comment by: Patrick

Hi,
where can I see the results of the survey?

Thank you in advance!

Greez Patrick

December 13th, 2011
at 8:36 am
Comment by: Adam DuVander

Hi Patrick,

Unfortunately, this survey didn’t receive enough responses to be meaningful. I think it’s because of the way I organized the survey to require weighting of the answers. We may run this again.

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Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.