API Review - Box.net

I am walking through the Box.net OpenBox Developer area tonight. Box.net offers a pretty robust set of API for managing files and content on the box.net platform.

It is a great example of a very robust API. They get you started with:
  • Introduction to OpenBox Actions
  • Getting Started Guide for API
  • Easy Sig-nup
  • Project Setup Page
They provide several flavors to their API:
  • REST
  • SOAP
They provide some some great code samples and libraries in all the top programming languages.

They provide a list of of all their API functions right off the left hand menu, broken down into categories:
  • Authentication
  • File & Folder Operations
  • Sharing
  • Tagging
  • Commenting
  • Download and Upload
They support their API with a developers blog and even provide an email address to contact them directly. They even have a mobile API offering!

I think they offer a solid API. As with many rockstar Web 2.0 applications it stops there. They don't offer a great API Community or Ecoystem. Its pretty evident the API came out of the development team.

The API lacks consistency and seems to be spread between developers.box.net and box.net/developers. The overall approach lacks community and even has some broken links.

They talk about some partners and API implementations on their blog, but don't showcase their developers, partners as part of the API which really contributes to a sense of community. Overall as a director of technology I would be hesitant to push for integration of the API because I feel like the API is kind of an afterthought and I wouldn't get much support.

Without actual experience in integration of course, this is all speculation. Although I think this reflects a common approach to delivering an API. They come out with a strong product, but without a solid business, marketing and management approach it can leave a lot to desire. Leaving many questions in my head that may lead to me walking away and look at other API solutions.
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