11436 SSO

Why We Love the Zappos API: 3 Tips for API Design

marsh
Feb 23, 2011

Zappos has made its name by putting the customer first. So it should be no a surprise to see how they’ve been treating their developers—after all, their developers are the customers of the Zappos APIs.

Here are three things we <3 about the Zappos API: 

Rate limits suck, but they’re important for protecting your backend. The better you can communicate a rate limit to a developer, the less frustration they’ll feel. What better way than to explain the current allowance than in the response headers? As far as we know, this is a pattern popularized by Twitter’s REST API, and it’s one we’d like to see spread far and wide.
Every box from Zappos has snippets from their core values, stuff like “Deliver WOW Through Service,” and “Embrace and Drive Change,” (both of which would be great guidelines for building a successful API as well). Why not deliver these messages in the headers of their API responses? Bravo!
Also, they may deserve credit for inventing the X-Recruiting header. So often an API is built to invite innovation from outside the company’s walls. So why not invite those same innovators inside their walls with every API call? The person behind this knows how to Create Fun and A Little Weirdness, and maybe should be working at Apigee… :)
  1. Rate limits suck, but they’re important for protecting your backend. The better you can communicate a rate limit to a developer, the less frustration they’ll feel. What better way to explain the current allowance than in the response headers? As far as we know, this is a pattern popularized by Twitter’s REST API, and it’s one we’d like to see spread far and wide.
  2. Every box from Zappos has snippets from their core values, stuff like “Deliver WOW Through Service,” and “Embrace and Drive Change,” (both of which are great guidelines for building a successful API as well). Why not deliver these messages in the headers of their API responses? Bravo!
  3. Also, they may deserve credit for inventing the X-Recruiting header. So often an API is built to invite innovation from outside the company’s walls. So why not invite those same innovators inside their walls with every API call? The person behind this knows how to Create Fun and A Little Weirdness, the type of thing we look for in our own team!

          

API Management Decision-Making Kit

Next Steps

 
 

Resources Gallery

News