Be licentious - open up your APIs! - YS at the Apigee Hackathon


Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Koramangala, Bangalore is the India office of an 8 year old Valley based company. Apigee has a host of products that makes providing of APIs easy for their clients.

Apigee raised a grand total of $72 million across 5 funding rounds, and now has its sights on India where they have a strong technical presence.

Hacking away at the Apigee office

Along with redBus, KooKoo, Zomato and Dataweave, Apigee conducted an invite only API hackathon. A small group of 35 developers worked on some interesting hacks, using the Indian APIs exposed over a period of 3 days, starting 1st March 2013.

Vinoth Kumar, from Apigee was our host. During the event, we saw some interesting ideas and mashups leveraging the capabilities of the exposed APIs. The only constraint of the Hackathon being - only Indian APIs could be used.

Technology barriers exist, but can be resolved

Most firms aren’t averse to providing their APIs, says Vinoth. There are many complexities involved in exposing your services to the world: most companies don’t have the bandwidth for this.

This is where Apigee’s solution comes in.

A mid sized crowd of developers were at the hackathon

“Our solution allows firms to focus only on the business logic of exposing their API and we take care of all the technology parts. Furthermore, we have a API management tool which gives our customers control of API usage, allowing better support developer adoption and scale as growth occurs.”

Apigee is planning to conduct these API hackathons once every quarter.



Platform-ize your apps with APIs

The KooKoo team at the Hackathon

Krishna Chaitanya, the founder of KooKoo, a developer tool used for building IVR applications, was very impressed with the way his API was being put to use in various hacks.

“Many new companies have started up because some other company has exposed their APIs. It serves both purposes. The person using your API leverages its functionality and you still get your traffic.”

Indian startup ZipDial uses KooKoo’s API for their missed call service.

There were some interesting cross-service hacks:

  • An app that would find interesting restaurants to go to (using Zomato’s API) and aid in buying bus tickets to go to the place (using redBus’s API)
  • A voiced based price comparison app (Using KooKoo and DataWeave APIs)
  • A voice based comparison of budgets allocated and used by local MPs (Using KooKoo and DataWeave APIs (Yes, there is an API for that also!))

APIs enable enhanced functions for your products

Hackers ready to go to bed

Siri, the popular voice based personal assistant uses 19 different APIs. The products exposing these APIs would have never come up with a product like Siri - There is only so much one team can do with a product.

“Some of the hacks that we saw showed some very deep understanding of the APIs and how Apigee can be used. Some of these guys had already written the logic out in 10 minutes after the orientation session. We were really surprised at how an outside mind can put your solution to use.”

This is the benefit of providing ones APIs - better, more powerful products, which wouldn’t have existed if the APIs weren’t exposed. Apart from this, here are some more benefits -

  • Providing an API is like adding developers to your product that you don’t have time to hire.
  • It takes the benefits of your product and shares it with a larger audience.
  • Exposed APIs have proven to be effective revenue earners in a licensing model. KooKoo is an example

Exposing ones APIs is definitely the way forward and the introduction of a player like Apigee might just be the catalyst to more collaborative apps among Indian software companies and developers in the coming years.