How To Do It Right: 5 Things I Love About the Digg API

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How To Do It Right: 5 Things I Love About the Digg API


In December, I started work on a fun little project called Website Grader.  Over time, this went from being a fun, little project to a fun, big project.  Website Grader basically measures the marketing effectiveness of a website by looking at a variety of different factors.

Last night, I released a new version of Website Grader that uses the recently released digg API.  To learn more about what was done with the digg API, check out this article:  "Will Getting Dugg on Improve Your Grades?"

5 Things I Love About The Digg API

1.  It Exists:  I can't tell you how frustrating it is to encounter otherwise savvy companies that have a great product/service that acts as a "platform" but has no API.

2.  It's Elegant:  The digg API is simple.  You invoke a URL and get XML back.  Even without writing code, you can test out the API simply by passing parameters from the URL.  The output is clean XML that you can eyeball and understand.

3.  It's Expansive:  Lots of APIs are little more than a simple interface that provides programmatic access to the data the way that users get to it.  Although this is a great start, one of the major benefits of an API is that allows creative people to use your software in ways that you may not have thought of.  Don't limit the API to just the features you can think of.  Make it deep so people can get creative.

4.  It's Immediately Available:  There's no registration and no "key" that has to be requested.  If you want to start accessing the API, you can do it now.  No muss, no fuss. 

5.  No Limits or Constraints:  Digg is not putting any limits on the use of the API (though they ask that people use their heads and not abuse it).  This is a great way to get started.  Rare is the case where you really need to put limits on the use of an API early in the game.  If it was worth developing the API, it's worth letting people loose with it.

So, if you're thinking about adding an API to your application, I'd suggest taking a look at the way digg did it.  They got a bunch of things right.

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on Thu, Jun 07, 2007


yeah the digg api is pretty nice but honestly i'm surprised it took them so long to release it. some other interesting api info:

posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 at 10:22 PM by matthew

@matthew: good things come to those who wait. =)

posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 at 1:29 AM by Michal Migurski

@Dharmesh and all the readers of this wonderful blog.

Can you suggest any good starting place where one can learn the 'howto's' and 'why's' of API design for web services? My curiosity is really piqued and I am starting a web service from scratch for which an API would surely be handy. Any pointers would be gratefully received.


Timmy Jose.

posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 at 1:59 AM by Timmy Jose

Mr Jose, Please leave a comment on my blog as to what sort of web service you are starting along with your email address. I will then provide suggestions as to how to get an API going.

posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 at 8:29 PM by Prolific Programmer

I found your website grader about a month ago. Hats off, the tool rocks and is very helpful in picking up the missing seo pieces. -Tys

posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 at 2:28 AM by Tyson Harper

Great idea on Website Grader, now if only Google would fix their API's to be easier to use.

posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 at 3:03 AM by TV4Free

This is interesting. I'm gonna go look into digg api.

posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 at 5:27 AM by brian

A good alternative to #5 is to use normal number of calls quotas but to return the remaining credit to the caller. This gives the developer a chance to backtrack if he over used his quota. is using this and I find it very valuable.

posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 at 6:51 AM by

I've been dabbling with the Digg API and it's pretty good. So far I've built... ...which allows users to check how their Digg story submissions are doing. And... ... to see how their comments are doing. I plan to integrate them both soon. They're still in early development but I've learnt a lot about the Digg API in the mean time.

posted on Monday, July 23, 2007 at 5:43 PM by Paul

posted on Wednesday, December 03, 2008 at 5:28 PM by gfbfnhfghfg

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