Introducing API List 2.0

TL;DR: A complete redesign, a new blog, company pages,  collections, comments and upvotes, Algolia search and more.

API List started in 2017 as a spreadsheet and then a simple site. Initially it had about ~100 APIs that were submitted manually by me, then people started to contribute and it became a helpful resource for devs looking for APIs to use on their projects, hackaton or startups.

At the time I had many side projects, so I left API List to work on "auto pilot",  just approving newly added APIs when they came in.

In 2018 I've noticed that the site started to rank better in Google, I've also noticed more and more universities referring to API List in their CS programs (most of the referrals are from universities, github courses or udemy courses). This was a huge motivation to get back to work on API List, after a ton of hours of work, I am happy to release API List 2.0 with many new features!

Stack

The previous version was built with Vue,  this time I decided to do everything with vanilla JS, so I don't need to refactor every time Vue updates something (heard a new Vue is coming out).

The stack is:

  • Express JS .
  • Vanilla JS on the client.
  • Turbolinks to make it look snappy.
  • TailwindCSS for styling.
  • MongoDB for the DB.
  • Digital Ocean for server and images.

Redesign

The old version of API List was using a pre designed template from html5up, I didn't even have a logo 😊.

I am not a designer, but after watching a ton of  Youtube videos and reading refactoring UI articles (thanks Adam and Steve), I am very happy with the end result (still some features missing).

It is functional, simple, fun and makes the main API feed feel like a real list (before it wasn't).

My girlfriend created the logo for me and I love it!.  

New API List

Comments, upvotes and companies using the specific APIs

I added comments, upvotes and "companies using this API" to the API profiles with the goal of turning the site more into a "social network. Kind of like Product Hunt, and hopefully  the community will make the best APIs standout.

So far (after 2 weeks in beta) there weren't any comments, but upvotes have been working quite well, we'll see with time.

I am very happy to move the in-site search to Algolia. In API List 1.0 I was using straight Mongodb queries but it wasn't as good.  It took me a day to implement Algolia, and their free plan is enough for now, can't recommend them enough.

API Collections

When someone searches for an API in the search bar, I save it to the DB and then analyze it (manually for now) with the goal of creating "collections". I have the code for this in production, but so far haven't created many collections. A "Free APIs" collection can be seen here for example https://apilist.fun/collection/free-apis.

I am thinking in the future to do "public collections", so each user can create their own collection. Let me know if you would like to see this.

Company pages

I wanted to know more about how companies and developers are using their APIs, and/or what APIs they are building on top of.

The new company pages feature companies to explain about how they are using APIs. The first company I interviewed was XYZ Menus, the interview can be seen here: https://apilist.fun/company/xyzmenus.

If your project/company is either offering or relying heavily on APIs, please add your company here: https://apilist.fun/company/new

Open blog

I also started this blog with Ghost, it is my first time using Ghost, I recommend it to anyone who wants a simple and great looking blog.

I am not a great writer but the long term goal is to have other people write about APIs freely in this blog. If you want to be a contributor please get in touch.


What's next?

That's it! for now those are all the updates I can reveal.

In the coming weeks I will be fixing new found bugs, and redesigning things that I kind of dismissed to be able launch quick (ahem responsive details).

I hope by the end of 2019 to add at least 400 new APIs and have 100 companies on board with their own company page.

In the longer timeline I would love to organize several online hackatons. I am an introvert, so organizing, reaching out ,etc is not my forte but it will be a good challenge.

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