DEV Community

Yann Bertrand
Yann Bertrand

Posted on

Public APIs situation

Public APIs is an Open Source list of free and publicly available APIs with more than 1,400 entries from the personal side project to FAANG companies.

Created in 2015 by Todd Motto, the project quickly grew up as a reference for developers. In 2016 Todd asked the community if some people were interested in maintaining the repository. I was one of the few lucky people who joined the project. Todd migrated the project to a new organization and let us do our maintainer job.

Public APIs is now one of the most starred project on GitHub beside the React and Vue frameworks.

One issue we've been having with the project is that we maintainers don't have access to the settings. That means we can't add maintainers, update the description or labels. We don't have access to the GitHub Organization at all.

I personally learnt Todd was not the owner anymore in 2020 as I was struggling with the Hacktoberfest flow of incoming PRs. After finding a way to contact the owners they finally added some more motivated maintainers during March 2021 (that have been doing a great job since then - thanks a lot guys). They also upgraded our rights but none of us are still able to add maintainers.

Turned out the owners built a company about APIs, it's called APILayer.

In May 2021, they replaced the GitHub description of the project to add links to their company. A few times they tried to push their own commercial APIs to the top of the list, breaking the build (as we require alphabetically ordered links) and the guidelines as the point of the project is to list free APIs.

I reverted their changes and contacted them to explain the issue. I didn't have any answer from APILayer since then.

This Friday March 11th 2022 they once again broke the rules, by removing a sponsor from the project and add their own logo plus link to their company. I reverted it.

On Saturday March 12th 2022 they crossed the line by downgrading our maintainers rights without notice.

On Wednesday March 16th they removed the maintainers list from the readme and added one of their business API again.

It's now clear APILayer don't care about the project nor Open Source, their only goal is to take advantage of the large number of pageviews the project gets to redirect to their own company.

The team is still discussing what we should do to keep the project going. Please be careful with the project content now because we cannot ensure it's safe.


Other references :

Discussion (3)

Collapse
ekeijl profile image
Edwin

Time to fork the project and start over?

Collapse
djsnipa1 profile image
djsnipa1

I thought the same thing as I was reading this but then got to thinking... The most important thing is that all those stars would be gone! That's a shitload of stars! Also, the name of the repo we all know would have to be different and I think that would confuse a lot of people who don't take the time to read the "Issues", for example.

Collapse
jponsweb profile image
jponsweb

=(