Building API's for Open Source Projects and Commercialized Products

Get to know the team behind the Datacratic brand.  Today we bring you an interview with Datacratic's CTO, Jeremy Barnes to talk about the role Datacratic plays in providing API’s to organizations to accelerate their development and deployment of real-time bidding and behavior data modeling solutions.

Why are you passionate about providing APIs for engineers to accelerate their development efforts?

We deliver our open-source and proprietary products through APIs, and have an API centric philosophy through the company. I love the flexibility and ease of integration that comes from this philosophy and our customers love that they can seamlessly integrate our optimization APIs into their products.

Why are APIs important for business?

Product APIs are standardized ways for computers to talk to another system and ask it to do something for them. Some results are electronic only, like returning a result of a query or create a predictor of their next behaviours.  Some APIs have physical effects, like medication being delivered to the right patient. Since APIs are designed for computers to use, they allow computer systems from different companies to act together seamlessly and allow sophisticated systems to be built, quickly and reliably, by mixing together lots of simple but powerful product APIs.  APIs are a major factor in technology "eating the world" at the moment and they are starting to pervade all kinds of business, online and offline, from technology to agriculture.

What are some challenges in creating product APIs?

Creating a good API means thinking of how your customers will want to use it, not what is the easiest way for engineering to write it. There is a tension between product features like documentation, backwards compatibility and making it natural to use, versus engineering features like performance and scalability, ease of implementation and timeline.

An API is the primary point of contact for those who are using your product. A good API will be loved by your customers and can give you great credibility and loyalty in the marketplace. A poor API makes it look like you don't get it. Don't cut corners and make sure you listen to your users.

What are strategies for designing sophisticated APIs?

Not everything is easy to represent through an API, and it sometimes requires great creativity to deliver high performing but natural APIs.

The best strategy is to use all of your APIs internally: eat your own dogfood. If you insist that your organization do everything that your customers do through your APIs, you will end up with more creative and better APIs.

How can a developer get started with your APIs?

Developers with an interest in developing real-time bidders can get started immediately using RTBkit. RTBkit is an open-source software framework that takes much of the hard engineering work out of creating a Real-Time Bidder for online advertising.

Datacratic products including our Machine Learning Platform, RTB Optimizer and Behavioral Data Modeling API all offer API’s for clients to extend their solutions.