Having A Developer.[YourDomain] Is Clear Differentiator In The API Game

February 13, 2018

I am profiling US, UK, French, and German banks as part of some research I am doing for Streamdata.io. I am profiling how far along in the API journey these banks are, and one clear differentiator for me is whether a bank has a developer.[bankdomain] subdomain setup for their APIs or not. The banks that have a dedicated subdomain for their API operations have a clear lead over those who do not. The domain doesn’t do much all by itself, but it is clear that when a bank can get this decision made, many of the other decisions that need to be made are also happening in tandem.

This isn’t unique just to banking. This is something I’ve written about several times over the years, and remains constant after looking at thousands of APIs over the last eight years. When a company’s API presence exists within the help section of their website, the API is almost always secondary to the core business. When a company relies on a 3rd party service for their API and developer presence, it almost always goes dormant after a couple months, showing that APIs are just not a priority within the company. Having a dedicated subdomain, landing page, and set of resources dedicated to doing APIs goes a long way towards ensuring an API program gains the momentum it needs to be successful within an organization, and industry.

I know that having a dedicated subdomain for API operations seems like a small thing to many folks. However, it is one of the top symptoms of a successful API in my experience. Making data, content, and algorithms available in a machine readable way for use in other applications by 3rd party via the web is something every company, organization, institution, and government agency should be doing in 2018. It is the next iteration of the web, and is not something that should be a side project. Having a dedicated subdomain demonstrates that you understand this, and an API won’t just be the latest trend at your organization. Even if your APIs are entirely private in the beginning, having a public portal for your employees, partners, and other stakeholders will go along way towards helping you get the traction you are looking for in the API game.

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