Grilling up an API

BBQ is a religion in Austin. Everyone has their opinion on who serves up the best BBQ. Debates between people defending their choices have been known to last into the wee hours of the night. Friendships have been ruined, and neighbors turned into enemies (okay, I might have made that last bit up…but you get my point).

APIs are also like a religion to many in the developer community. Developers spend their precious time using the tools and APIs that companies create. The easiest tools to use will be the ones they turn to consistently – and tell their friends about. At Bazaarvoice, we are hyper-focused on how to make our API and Platform the best set of tools around.

But how do you “serve up” good API? To answer that, let’s borrow an analogy from the world of BBQ.

Imagine you wanted to make a BBQ dinner, and you came to Bazaarvoice for help. We could help you in a few different ways:

Method #1: We can provide you with the raw ingredients & materials you need – e.g. spices to make your sauce, sticks to build your fire, and of course – a cow.

Method #2: We can provide you with some pre-packaged ingredients & items – e.g. a bottle of BBQ sauce, a grill, and some prime cuts of meat.

Method #3: We can provide you with a menu from the Salt Lick, as well as the number to their delivery service.

So what does this translate to (aside from a yummy BBQ dinner)?

Method #1: High innovation, high support costs, and low adoption.

Method #2: Medium innovation, medium support costs, and medium adoption.

Method #3: Low innovation, low support costs, and high adoption.

At Bazaarvoice, we aim to provide the developer community with tools that support all three of the methods above:

Method #1: Our API gives developers fine-grained control over the information they can request, the filters they can specify, etc. However, this flexibility comes at a cost. Developers will have to understand our object model and syntax to take full advantage of the API, and we at Bazaarvoice need to provide training and documentation to help with this process.

Method #2: Our API documentation always starts off with example API calls and popular use cases. These “pre-packaged” examples can help you skip straight to the API calls that will get the job done.

Method #3: We have reference apps available to download, and we will continue to add more over time. These reference apps serve two purposes. First, you can download the apps, enter your API credentials, and be off and running (just like BBQ takeout!). Second, you can use these apps as a learning tool to help you get familiar with the Bazaarvoice API faster.

Like grilling up BBQ, it is hard to satisfy everyone. But when you get your product just right, you can turn customers into dedicated fans. So in conclusion – when you see an employee of Bazaarvoice feasting away at one of the many popular local BBQ joints, feel confident knowing that we are hard at work.

Extremenly superb way of comparing APIs with BBQ though firstly was quite confussed while reading this article.. So finally can say enjoyed both Bazaarvoice API and Austin BBQ 😉