RESTHooks Aims To Help API Developers Avoid Polling Inefficiencies

Mark Boyd, September 13th, 2013

API Integration-platform-as-a-Service provider Zapier has introduced a new website and GitHub repo to collate code patterns for subscription-based webhooks. The site, RESThooks, provides API developers with easy-to-use methods for setting up a subscription layer on top of a webhook. The goal is to prevent inefficient polling of an API for data changes and updates.

Many APIs continually poll a data source to see if there have been any recent changes to the data that should be displayed or used in a third-party app or integration tool. However, doing so can impact on rate limits and increases strain on the host server.

Inefficient polling is one of the main reasons why Evernote has indicated it will introduce fees for excessive API calls. They recommend API developers to restrict polling for changes and updates to 15 minute intervals, and encourage the use of Evernote’s webhooks which instead use a HTTP GET request to provide a user’s note updates.

But Zapier – which uses open APIs to create a service providing automated integrations between Software-as-a-Service apps – has found that even webhooks have their difficulties. Working with online form builder Wufoo, they found that 56% of webhooks return errors, in this case resulting in potential users and customers abandoning using Wufoo integrations. This prevents Wufoo’s products from being embedded in end user’s business workflows.

Zapier’s new RESThooks site provides coding documentation to help API developers create a REST interface that manages webhooks like subscriptions.

Announcing the new service, Zapier co-founder Wade Foster said in a press release:

“REST Hooks arose out of feedback we received from hundreds of SaaS services and developer leaders who were asking how to do webhooks in a developer and user friendly way

RESTHooks.org is our way of shining a light on the companies who have already implemented RESTHooks, which we’ve found to be the most developer­ and user­friendly way of adopting webhooks.”

This is the second service Zapier has developed to support API developers. In May, the $1.2 million seed funded Californian startup created the API Status Board which records any server issues reported with the 238 services for which it provides integration and automation tools.

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