Tech Updates: Handmade Code & Etsy's Beta API
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Chad Dickerson, Etsy's Chief Technology Officer, announced that Etsy is beta testing our API. For more details please read his post in the Etsy blog:
What's an API? It's a bit complicated and I'm not a very techy person, so I've tried to summarize below. Chad does a good job explaining it and linking to some articles in his post on the blog, for further reading if you're interested.
"API" stands for Application Programming Interface. When software developers "publish" their code — to a website or to the iPhone for example — in essence, they display information to you in new ways and give you tools. What an API does is organize code into usable streams of data for other developers to work with. In the case of Etsy, our company's engineers can open the doors to third party developers, who can then innovate and create new tools for Etsians (some of these developers are motivated because their friends or relatives sell on Etsy; some charge a fee to use their tools; or some simply "craft code" for the love of making things and may ask for donations to support their efforts). An API is basically a set of tools that allows developers to build new applications based on the unique data and capabilities provided by, in this case, Etsy.com.
The world is experiencing a golden age of software development as developers are able to build applications for everyone in many different places. (A great example of this is Facebook.) Fundamentally, many successful companies recognize that there is untapped creativity and unmet needs beyond the four walls of a company. Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, and other household technology names all have successful developer programs because, even with their vast resources, they realize that they can't build everything customers might want or need. These are amazing times we live in — when the ideas and work of many can join together to provide so many more options than one company ever could! At Etsy, we're excited to be opening our doors to this type of innovation.
In part, Etsy is opening its API because developers have already been tinkering with code. Some of you may already be using some of the tools that they have made for Etsians — and we'll be talking more about these as soon as the API is ready to be released for use by all developers. In fact, the developers who made these tools are the first people invited to beta-test what will become the Etsy Developer Community. We will be posting more details on these tools (and new ones we haven't even imagined yet) as we get them on board with the API, which will ensure that they won't drain site speed or harm the main site's functionality in any way.
Our API "Developer Community" is still in the testing phases and if you're a developer interested in taking part, please email email@example.com.
Posted at 4:13 pm Feb 6, 2009 EST