The API rating agency

How to stabilize the API economy? With trust. Here I am trying to find a rating model that helps developers manage risk and opportunities in using APIs. Every critical point of view is welcome, this is a tool for us, let's build it together. Mehdi Medjaoui, from Webshell.io
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APIs are made for developers because the 21st century will be a programmable century.

There was a time when mashups were trendy. We had Yahoo Pipes, Microsoft Popfly and Google Mashup Editor that helped non-developers create mashups.

The user could create a mashup with only 3 mouse clicks and drag-and-drops. That was very simple, perhaps too simple. They were ancestors of API automation platforms like  ifttt.comwhenauser.com , elastic.io, wappwolf.commashablelogic.comwewiredweb.comzapier.com.

But somehow for these ancesters, it failed.

Microsft Popfly stopped maintaining the platform not because of a lack of success but because no monetization or products could be made on it.

Google transformed its Mashup Editor made for everyone, into App Engine that was designed specifically for developers.

Yahoo Pipes is still alive, but it is based on the Yahoo Query Language which was made, guess what, for developers ;)

Why? 

To my mind, monetization of old automated API and mashups platforms failed for one main reason.

The main reason is that programming is for programmers. 

Non-developers made cool mashups fast, but without enough value to pay for it. Programmers were too restricted for making smart applications.
No enough added value, no business, no money, no future.

But.

But Everything can be learned. Programming is not some secret rocket science. It is like any foreign language: you just have to practice and learn from your mistakes.

Does Chinese seem difficult to learn and speak? Well, more than 1 billion people on the planet knows Chinese! Even children ! ;)

This would of course take some time and work, and anybody does not become a Chinese poet or receive a Nobel Prize in Literature but still, you can get a decent level by learning and practicing.

Do you really think you can learn a foreign language by drag-and-dropping words together? You will be able to make word associations, sentences, even a little text but nothing very smart or subtile.

Speaking is not the only association of words.

This is the same for programming and combined APIplications !

I concede that you can do more with a programming language because most of them are logical and with automated tools you can assemble more advanced bricks and make more advanced constructions than in natural languages.

IFTTT, Elastic.io and Whenauser and other API automated platforms are wonderful services to make fun and useful mashups (they call it for example recipes on IFFT) but will be always limited in all the different inputs and outputs possible, which needs to be converted in human language, and this for 7000 APIs and more everyday.

But nothing as smart as, for example, a Siri-like application, which is today a tasty recipe with dozens of APIs, processed in a well designed way (by programming it). It just cannot be done with one chain of API bricks (e.g. a sentence in human language).

Maybe with a billion input/ouput bricks it would be possible… but it would be faster to learn how to program and learn how to read an API documentation.

Building an API rating agency, I strongly think that APIs are made for developers, because it is a professional tool and if you want to exploit all degrees of liberty with APIs, you need to understand programming paradigms.

If we want a good API industry, we need to have API providers make good designs and do good practices in order to ease developers. In such a ecosystem based on trust, APIs would be much more stable and if they happen to change, changes would be done in a respectful and preventive way. 

Hence the API rating agency made for helping developers.