"A business’ potential can be expanded when they offer an API. There are only so many resources a business can offer. Having an API available, with developers who are eager to build on them, can expand their offerings to more people." - Jenn Chen
Starting this post off with possibly the most lukewarm take of my life -
APIs (application programming interfaces) are awesome. Before I embarked on my journey to switch careers from Human Resources to Software Engineering I kept track of my project ideas for the time when my skillset could finally allow for me to tackle them. Every project (save for one) has involved working with at least one API. I love utilizing public APIs to add increased functionality or even to spark my creativity for my next project! That being said...
As a longtime makeup enthusiast I was excited to combine my personal interests with my skillset. Unfortunately for some of my project ideas, I could not find makeup brands with their own public API which frankly stumped me. Expanding my search outside of the beauty realm I found a similar issue. Why are brands not making already publicly available data about their products easily accessible for developers to create with? Don't they know there are developers out there that want to make interesting projects and increased utility with their products?! This post is my attempt to call out to all brands - "If you build a public API, developers will come."
- Easily expand the reach of a brand
- Opportunity for innovation without substantial investment on the brand's part
- Increased brand utility
- Potential for easy and free market validation
It would seem to reason that allowing new ways for their products to be interacted with would be in a brand's best interest yet here we are. So I gathered publicly available information from my favorite makeup brand, Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, to create a public API that I can continue to work with, other developers can try out and serve as an example for how easy it would be for a brand to implement it themselves.
I would estimate that completing this task using Ruby on Rails and Heroku took me less than a days worth of work for 295 items (imagine how quick it could be for a brand with their own data!) for the first 9 endpoints.
The static page outlining the endpoints for the Fenty Beauty API can be found here.
It would be easy and beneficial for brands to provide public APIs for developers to access. If brands created and maintained their own public APIs they have the potential to increase the endpoints for a customer to interact with their product and facilitate innovation with their own product.
What is an API:
Wonderful public APIs: