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Survey of API doc sites

Last updated: Jun 06, 2020

Rather than approach the topic of publishing prescriptively, let’s begin with some concrete examples and move towards the formulation of general principles. The following are more than 100 openly accessible REST APIs that you can browse as a way to look at patterns and examples. You can find many more APIs by browsing programmableweb.com.

100+ API doc sites

Browse a few of these documentation sites to get a sense of the variety, but also try to identify common patterns. In this list, I include not only impressively designed docs but also docs that look like they were created by a department intern just learning HTML. The variety in the list demonstrates the many options for publishing tools and approaches, as well as terminology. It seems that almost everyone does their API docs their own way, with their own site, branding, organization, and style.

  1. Shopgate API docs
  2. Google Places API docs
  3. Twitter API docs
  4. Flickr API docs
  5. Facebook’s Graph API docs
  6. Youtube API docs
  7. eBay API docs
  8. Amazon EC2 API docs
  9. Twilio API docs
  10. Last.fm API docs
  11. Bing Maps docs
  12. gpodder.net Web Service docs
  13. Google Cloud API docs
  14. Foursquare Places API docs
  15. Walmart API docs
  16. Dropbox API docs
  17. Splunk API docs
  18. Revit API docs
  19. Docusign API docs
  20. Geonames docs
  21. Adsense API docs
  22. Box API docs
  23. Amazon API docs
  24. Linkedin REST API docs
  25. Instagram API docs
  26. Google Analytics Management API docs
  27. Yelp API docs
  28. Lyft API docs
  29. Facebook API docs
  30. Eventful API docs
  31. Concur API docs
  32. Paypal API docs
  33. Bitly API docs
  34. Callfire API docs
  35. Reddit API docs
  36. Netvibes API docs
  37. Rhapsody API docs
  38. Donors Choose docs
  39. Sendgrid API docs
  40. Mailchimp docs
  41. Basecamp API docs
  42. Smugmug API docs
  43. NYTimes API docs
  44. USPS API docs
  45. NWS API docs
  46. Evernote API docs
  47. Stripe API docs
  48. Parse API docs
  49. Opensecrets API docs
  50. News API docs
  51. CTA Train Tracker API
  52. Amazon API docs
  53. Revit API docs
  54. Citygrid API docs
  55. Mapbox API docs
  56. Groupon API docs
  57. AddThis Data API docs
  58. Yahoo Weather API docs
  59. Glassdoor Jobs API docs
  60. Crunchbase API docs
  61. Zendesk API docs
  62. Validic API docs
  63. Ninja Blocks API docs
  64. Pushover API docs
  65. Pusher Client API docs
  66. Pingdom API docs
  67. Daily Mile API docs
  68. Jive docs
  69. IBM Watson docs
  70. HipChat API docs
  71. Stores API docs
  72. Alchemy API docs
  73. Indivo API 2.0 docs
  74. Socrata API docs
  75. Github API docs
  76. Mailgun API docs
  77. RiotGames API docs
  78. Basecamp API docs
  79. ESPN API docs
  80. Snap API docs
  81. SwiftType API docs
  82. Snipcart API docs
  83. VHX API docs
  84. Polldaddy API docs
  85. Gumroad API docs
  86. Formstack API docs
  87. Livefyre API docs
  88. Salesforce Chatter RESt API docs
  89. The Movie Database API docs
  90. SoundCloud API docs
  91. Context.io docs
  92. CouchDB docs
  93. Smart Home API (Amazon Alexa) docs
  94. Coinbase docs
  95. Shopify API docs
  96. Authorize.net docs
  97. Trip Advisor docs
  98. Pinterest docs
  99. Uber docs
  100. Spotify API
  101. Trello API
  102. Yext API
  103. Threat Stack API docs
  104. Strava API
  105. Plaid API
  106. Paymill API
  107. Rundown API
  108. Zype API
  109. Yummyly API
  110. Edamam Food APIs
  111. Veracode API
  112. SAP
  113. Sunbird API
  114. Dwolla API

Programmableweb.com: A directory of API doc sites on the open web

For a directory of API documentation sites on the open web, see the Programmableweb.com docs. You can browse thousands of web API docs in a variety of categories.

Programmable web directory

Note that Programmableweb lists only open web APIs, meaning APIs that you can access on the web (which also means it’s usually a REST API). They don’t list the countless internal, firewalled APIs that many companies provide at a cost to paying customers. There are many more thousands of private APIs out there that most of us will never know about.

Activity: Look for common patterns in API doc sites

In this activity, identify common patterns in API documentation sites.

  1. Go the list of 100+ API documentation sites.
  2. Select about three different APIs (choose any of those listed on the page).
  3. Look for several patterns or commonalities among the API doc sites. For example, you might look for any of the following patterns:

    • Structure and templates
    • Seamless branding (between docs and the marketing site)
    • Abundant code samples and syntax highlighting
    • Lengthy pages
    • API Interactivity (such as an API Explorer)
    • Docs as code tooling
  4. Note any non-patterns, such as the following:

    • PDF
    • Translation
    • Video tutorials
    • Commenting features
    • Multiple outputs by role
  5. Make some notes in an API log or journal (or share them in the comments below).

In the next section, we’ll look at Design patterns with API doc sites. From your notes, look to see if the patterns I highlight match the ones you observed in the API doc sites you analyzed.

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