3SCALE and API Evangelist Unveil a New Format for API Metadata and Discovery On The Web

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APIs.json Format and First Open Source Search Engine Apis.io Make It Easier to Organically Discover APIs On The Public Web


Having this information searchable, rather than having to update a directory is crucial to the evolution of the Web towards hundreds of thousands to millions of APIs.

As APIs become an increasingly important tool for businesses and organizations of all types, 3SCALE and API Evangelist today announced an effort to define a new metadata format called APIs.json to describe published Web APIs, as well as a new Web API search engine – Apis.io– that uses the format. Both the format and the search engine are open source and public to make it easier to organically discover APIs on the public Web, and help with the usage of API’s across a wide variety of industry.

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.

This effort provides common discovery format in APIs.json that can be used by anyone to publish information about their APIs on their own domain. The files using this format can subsequently be consumed by crawlers and other automated processes to capture a picture of the evolving “API Web”.

“The hope is that the APIs.json format will help people put good information out about the APIs they have, and how they work,” said Kin Lane of API Evangelist. “Having this information searchable, rather than having to update a directory is crucial to the evolution of the Web towards hundreds of thousands to millions of APIs.”

“The format is currently very simple and we plan to evolve quickly,” said Steven Willmott, CEO of 3SCALE. “We wanted to enable people to start using something so that a learning process can begin on how best to do this – starting with a format. Then it was a was a no-brainer to write the search engine – apis.io to test the format. And because we’ve open sourced it, others can run their own and contribute.”

The APIs.json format is proposed for community debate and adoption at http://www.apisjson.org/. The search engine (effectively the first API Search Engine) is hosted at http://www.apis.io/ by 3SCALE Inc. The source code for the search engine is also provided as open source using an MIT license, in order that others can run their own search engine and hence contribute to API Discovery on the Web.

API Evangelist is run by Kin Lane, a technology professional with an obsession for Application Programming Interfaces or APIs. His blog at API Evangelist chronicles API evolution and seeks to provide insights and best practice from both a technical and business perspective. He also writes at APIVoice and APIStack.

3SCALE provides a comprehensive API infrastructure that helps both API providers to easily package, distribute, manage and monetize APIs, and users of APIs to interact with them in a simple way. 3SCALE’s API Provider SaaS infrastructure is flexible, secure and Web scalable, and enables the distribution of a company's data, content or services to multiple devices or mobile/Web applications, as well as the ability to easily productize APIs. Since 2009, more than 100,000 developers are consuming more than 300 APIs exposed using 3SCALE. Customers span the Fortune 500, government, academia, and startups including Johnson Controls, SITA, Transport For London (TFL), UC Berkeley, Skype, Wine.com among others. For more information, visit http://www.3scale.net.

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