APIs: A Strategy Guide

APIs: A Strategy Guide

by Daniel Jacobson, Greg Brail, Dan Woods


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Programmers used to be the only people excited about APIs, but now a growing number of companies see them as a hot new product channel. This concise guide describes the tremendous business potential of APIs, and demonstrates how you can use them to provide valuable services to clients, partners, or the public via the Internet. You’ll learn all the steps necessary for building a cohesive API business strategy from experts in the trenches.

Facebook and Twitter APIs continue to be extremely successful, and many other companies find that API demand greatly exceeds website traffic. This book offers executives, business development teams, and other key players a complete roadmap for creating a viable API product.

  • Learn about the rise of APIs and why your business might need one
  • Understand the roles of asset owners, providers, and developers in the API value chain
  • Build strategies for designing, implementing, and marketing your product
  • Devise an effective process for security and user management
  • Address legal issues, such as rights management and terms of use
  • Manage traffic and user experience with a reliable operating model
  • Determine the metrics you need to measure your API’s success

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781449308926
Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/28/2011
Pages: 150
Sales rank: 992,735
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Daniel Jacobson is Director of Engineering for the Netflix API, which is the primary distribution channel for getting movie and subscriber information to hundreds of Netflix-ready streaming devices. Prior to Netflix, Daniel led an engineering team NPR where he created the NPR API as well as the content management system that drives NPR.org, mobile platforms, and all other digital presentations of NPR content.

As CTO of Apigee, Greg Brail has led the Apigee technology team as it deployed its API management technology for scores of customers. Prior to joining Apigee, Greg led the technology behind BEA’s WebLogic JMS and Core Engine initiatives and developed the message-delivery infrastructure at TransactPlus.

Greg spent his formative years with transaction-processing pioneer Transarc, where he deployed production systems at JPMorgan and elsewhere. He has held positions at Citibank and at IBM. Greg holds a degree in Computer Science from Brown University.

Dan Woods is a seasoned CTO, author, speaker, and entrepreneur with experience in business, computer science, journalism, and publishing. He is CTO and Editor of CITO Research, a firm dedicated to creating content to improve the performance of CIO and CTOs. As an author, Dan has written or coauthored more than 20 books about business and technology, ranging from books about service-oriented architecture, open source, manufacturing, RFID, and wikis to the ideas driving the latest generation of enterprise applications, particularly in the face of Web 2.0's impact on the enterprise. Dan has written hundreds of white papers and conducted more than 1,000 interviews with experts in a variety of fields. He is also an invited speaker and moderator at international conferences.

As a CTO, Dan built technology for companies ranging from Time Inc. New Media to TheStreet.com. He has managed the product development cycle from initial requirements through sales for websites and software products designed for the publishing and financial services industries. At TheStreet.com, his systems supported the company's successful IPO and handled millions of daily page views while the number of subscribers tripled and new lines of business were launched. At CapitalThinking, Dan's software was purchased by the IT departments of large financial institutions including General Electric, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup.

Dan holds an M.S. from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and a B.A. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. Since July 2008, Dan has been writing a column for Forbes.com.

Table of Contents

Conventions Used in This Book;
Using Code Examples;
Safari® Books Online;
How to Contact Us;
Chapter 1: The API Opportunity;
1.1 Why We Wrote This Book;
1.2 Who Is This Book For?;
1.3 What Is an API?;
1.4 Who Uses an API?;
1.5 Types of APIs;
1.6 Why Now?;
Chapter 2: APIs as a Business Strategy;
2.1 The Growth of APIs;
2.2 Why You Might Need an API;
Chapter 3: Understanding the API Value Chain;
3.1 Defining the Value Chain: Ask Key Questions;
3.2 Creating a Private API Value Chain;
3.3 Creating a Public API Value Chain;
3.4 Shifting: Private to Public, Public to Private;
3.5 API Business Models for Working with Partners;
3.6 Programmable Web’s View of API Business Models;
Chapter 4: Crafting Your API Product Strategy;
4.1 Establish a Clear Business Objective;
4.2 Have a Vision for Your API;
4.3 API Strategy Basics;
4.4 Types of API Strategies;
4.5 Putting Together a Team;
4.6 Objections to APIs;
Chapter 5: Key Design Principles for APIs;
5.1 Designing APIs for Specific Audiences;
5.2 Best Practices for API Design;
5.3 Technical Considerations for API Design;
5.4 Designing Infrastructure for APIs;
Chapter 6: API Security and User Management;
6.1 User Management;
6.2 Identification;
6.3 Authentication: Proving Who You Are;
6.4 Encryption;
6.5 Threat Detection and Prevention;
6.6 General Recommendations;
Chapter 7: Legal Considerations for Your API Strategy;
7.1 Rights Management;
7.2 Contracts and Terms of Use;
7.3 Privacy Policies;
7.4 Data Retention Policies;
7.5 Attribution of Content and Branding;
7.6 Responding to Misuse;
Chapter 8: Operating and Managing an API;
8.1 Operating an API;
8.2 Traffic Management Approaches;
Chapter 9: Measuring the Success of Your API;
9.1 Handling API Metrics;
9.2 Operational Metrics;
9.3 Key Questions to Ask about API Performance;
9.4 How Metrics Evolved at NPR;
Chapter 10: Engaging Developers to Drive Adoption;
10.1 What Motivates Developers?;
10.2 Key Parts of a Developer Program Offering;
10.3 The Anatomy of a Developer Portal;
10.4 The Dos and Don’ts of Developer Engagement;
Chapter 11: Epilogue: Just the Beginning;

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