APIs.Json, APIs.io and API Discovery on the Web

APIs.JSON

We released some exciting news at the APISTRAT Gluecon Un-Workshop yesterday together with Kin Lane at API Evangelist: launching a new idea for how to promote the use of API Meta Data on the Public Web. The two things we announced were:

  • APIS.json: A new format to documenting the APIs on a given internet domain and get them found.
  • APIs.io: A simple search engine which uses the format.

In combination, the aim is to both help get more meta-data about APIs available in public and also begin making it easier to find these APIs. We’re also open-sourcing the API Search engine, so others can run their own search engines also (see APIs.io) for more information on this.

Why do this?

Web application programming interfaces (APIs) are becoming the “glue” of the Web because they indicate how software components should interact with each other. It is increasingly critical for companies to both provide APIs and consume those of others. But unlike the Web pages of the human Web, Web APIs are rarely linked together and cannot be “crawled” in the same way to build a picture of all the APIs available, and very little machine readable information is published about about them.

The current solution is to use public API directories, which do an admirable job of gathering APIs submitted to them. But such a process will be hard to to scale as the number of APIs grows rapidly.

Hopefully the new format will everybody improve API Discovery on the Web.

APIs.Json

The APIs.json format is very early and we’re definitely keen to get comments – information is available at http://apisjson.org/ and the current stable version is v0.13. We’ve also had a lot of excellent comments and plan to roll the most useful in very shortly.

APIs.Io

The search engine is available at http://apis.io/ and is intended to be a simple search engine for the format and we hope more will emerge. The service provides:

The service also has a simple API which we will improve over time. And  you will soon be able to pull a full list of the current apis.json files being indexed so you can bootstrap your own search engine.

A shout out also to Chris Matthieu who did a great job of initially ran the APIs.io domain and service. The original APIs.io is still available at http://legacy.apis.io.

How to get involved

For discussion on the format, please join the APIs.json discussion group (address on the site above). Then try out the format, get listed in the directory, and head to the tools at APIs.io!