Web API Reviews

We had the fortune of integrating over half a dozen apps with our platform this week, so we decided to write a short post about what we liked in some popular APIs, and what we didn’t.

The post covers APIs of two popular payment platforms: Stripe, and 2CheckOut, and three email marketing platforms: MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, and iContact.

Stripe

What We Liked

Stripe has one of the best APIs of any web app. It is extremely concise, and has a beautiful symmetric flow. It allows our users to accept payments, without having to redirect their visitors to other sites – this is what made us integrate with Stripe over other popular payment gateways.

What We Didn’t Like

Nothing

2CheckOut

What We Liked

We were able to insert an inline payment form on our site, allowing us to accept payments without redirecting the users

What We Didn’t Like

Inserting the payment form was easy – everything that followed was a horror.

  1. The API docs are half-baked
  2. The sandbox mode requires you to create a separate account, with all separate settings! It was so much easier with Stripe, where keys were the only difference between sandbox and live mode.
  3. They provide two tools for simulating notifications, both of which were a pain to use

MailChimp

For an email marketing integration, MailChimp was the obvious first choice, being the market leader by a huge margin.

What We Liked

Their API is robust, and is kept fairly up-to-date. It allowed us to create a simple, and intuitive workflow.

What We Didn’t Like

Navigating through the docs is difficult. There are too many API version, wrappers, and alternatives. The site is just not designed for a 13′ MacBook.

Campaign Monitor

What We Liked

They have one of the best APIs. For integrating an app, using PHP, almost everything you need can be found on just one page. The documentation is concise, and focused.

What We Didn’t Like

The workflow is very similar to MailChimp’s, but with the added layer of permissions, and clients. Not complaining.

iContact

What We Liked

Nothing

What We Didn’t Like

After a long chain of click-heres, get-started, sign-up, login-in, we reached their documentation. The flow was very different from other APIs. Developers are used to dealing with hard APIs, but our integration with iContact would have required us to settle for a sub-par workflow for our users. We decided to drop the integration, for now.

 

In the coming weeks, are will be integrating with more apps. I wish more web apps had APIs like Stripe, and Campaign Monitor do. Hoping for the best.

One thought on “Web API Reviews”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>