It's 2:30AM here in Paris, France… and I can't sleep so what better to do than to write a blog post! DK New Media has worked recently with two companies recently who have implemented technology to manage their application programming interface (API). APIs have become a powerful and necessary feature to any platform so that marketers can integration and automate their systems.
The difficult part of implementing APIs for your software platform is ensuring your company is protected against hackers, building monitoring and reporting services to monitor usage, and protecting your production environment against abusive clients who drag your system down.
Rather than querying hundreds of teams every hour to see if there's been any changes, we verify that each team is only checked once per day. If Coyle Media would like to manually update a team, they can make that request as a one off. This reduces the overall number of calls by thousands per day. It would have been much easier for us to simply query their API every 15 minutes for every client… but that wasn't necessary so we built a nice buffer to ensure we don't abuse the Twitter and Facebook APIs. So far so good – we've never been throttled.
If your platform is serious about launching an API, you must provide a layer of insulation between the API and your application to protect system performance. Throwing more and more hardware at your API is not a cost-effective solution. There are several API management solutions on the market that not only do this, but have a robust set of features that allow you to throttle clients (only allow a certain number of calls per minute, hour or day), provide usage reports on your API calls, and even allow you to monetize and track usage. Some data providers charge by each call you make (example: Rapleaf).
Developing the tools necessary to manage your API is something that's simply not cost effective these days since there are a number of services out there to do it for you. Some well-known API Management platforms are:
ChaCha implemented their API utilizing Mashery and the process was very simple. The team at Mashery implemented the calls and provided a user interface for ChaCha to promote their API to the community. They even assisted in the promotion and marketing of the API. The overall cost of an Enterprise level service like this is considerably less than the fully loaded salary or contract rate for a single developer who makes $100K per year.
If you're working with a Marketing Technology vendor with an API, you may want to ask them about their API management tools and how they both monitor, protect and ensure production is not disrupted by other overzealous, lazy developers!