Before 1500, monks spent their lives copying the Bible by hand. That method was replaced by printing presses for the next 500 years. Today, ebooks are set to end the practice of pulping trees and smearing them with ink. In all this change the direction of information access has been constant for half a millennium: faster and faster, easier and easier. The next revolution for publishers is APIs for books.
Last month ProgrammableWeb reported that Wordnik, a popular online dictionary and provider of the Wordnik API, had launched a brand new company called Reverb. Reverb is home to several developer tools including Swagger, a complete framework for “describing, producing, consuming, and visualizing RESTful web services.” This post is an overview of the Swagger interactive API documentation specification and framework.
Wordnik, a popular online dictionary and words related content platform, has just launched a brand new company called Reverb. Reverb will be the new home of the Wordnik API as well as expand on the Wordnik platform offering tools that “find and connect the rich associations between words, ideas, content, and people.”
Last month, ProgrammableWeb published a post announcing that the first “API Strategy and Practice Conference” would be taking place the 1st and 2nd of November in New York City. New speakers and panel sessions have been added to the conference events schedule since the time the original post was published.
There’s a lot that’s been written about the content of API documentation, but what about its look-and-feel? Unlike many types of information, API documentation is not meant to be read front-to-back, but is meant to be scanned for relevant information. This means that the look-and-feel should be very clean. Clarity is a much higher priority than aesthetics.
A big part of APIs success is the agility and flexibility they introduce into development and business processes by providing self-service, valuable, programmatic interfaces that can be used to quickly deliver new resources or data, allowing collaboration between 3rd party groups. With all of this flexibility and collaboration, often times many APIs are designed and developed in isolation, without much interaction with the consumers who will actually be using the interface. apiary.io, a new API service provider is looking to change all of this with their new collaborative, REST API documentation platform.
The number of APIs available across the public Internet has grown phenomenally in the past few years – with ProgrammableWeb’s directory now reaching 6000 APIs listed, with a 1000 APIs added in just the last 3 months.
While this number is large, it remains tiny compared to the many millions of sites that make up the World Wide Web. However, as code frameworks in major languages and platforms of various types make it increasingly easy to launch and operate APIs it is likely that “web scale” thinking will be needed to manage the resulting API Web.
A long time ago in Internet years, in a galaxy not so far away, a handful of tech titans in Silicon Valley and Seattle began building business platforms and battling for supremacy. The mobile device and app revolution hadn’t yet begun. Terms like “social networking” and “wisdom of crowds” were going “viral”. Web services and APIs were still emerging. The Google IPO of late 2004 had effectively slammed shut the Web 1.0 dotbomb era, paving the way for the amazing evolution of Web 2.0 services in 2005 that hit the mainstream in 2006.
Developers are game changers. Developers are craftspeople. Like all smart, motivated tinkerers who like to make stuff, developers also tend to have strongly-held opinions about what makes their craft easier or more difficult. Developer pain tiers upwards from mildly annoying to “bang head here” WTF. Debugging someone else’s sloppy code or terminal sessions timing out? Non-awesome. Coworkers talking loudly on the phone near their desk or standing over their shoulders? Painful. Awful documentation? Excruciating.
Wordnik, which aims to be the most comprehensive online dictionary, has been hard at work for over a year with a clear focus on scaling its architecture and listening to developer feedback. The result is significant updates to the Wordnik API and a new developer portal to increase adoption of its API.