What's in an API?

The Acquia Network is getting a serious shot in the arm in the opening months of 2011, and by shot in the arm, I mean something like what turned Jekyll into Hyde—except without the ragged clothes, anger and top hat. OK, maybe we’ll take the top hat.

This week we’ll be launching a series of enhancements to the site, starting with a new design that not only looks much cleaner, but makes getting to the tools you need much simpler. There’s also the added Managed Cloud and Dev Cloud tools and enhancements that our hosting team has been working on (I won’t steal their thunder, but it is one of the coolest systems I’ve ever seen for moving code, data and files between dev, test and production environments), but that’s still just the tip of the iceberg—there are tons of other things coming.
Some of those new things are additional 3rd party services that we’re providing to our Acquia Network customers absolutely free!

The first of our new batch of 3rd party services are becoming available at the end of this week. On deck are New Relic, Mobify and Visual Website Optimizer. If you are already an Acquia Network customer, you’ll find access to these products along with Acquia Search and Mollom in our new Services section of the Acquia Network site.

  • New Relic RPM is an amazing tool that gives you detailed analytics of your LAMP stack, down to the callback functions that power each Drupal page load, and how long they take on average to process. We’re spotting Acquia Network customers a free Bronze account with New Relic—normally $800/year.
  • Mobify is a great service that can provide you with a mobile version of your website in a timeframe as short as a few hours to a few days. With an affiliate code we’ll have waiting for you on the Acquia Network, you’ll get Mobify Studio Pro for free! Just in case you don’t have time to take a peek at their site, that normally costs $245/month.
  • Visual Website Optimizer provides a very slick A/B and multivariate testing service for your site that allows you to stop guessing at what will work best and get some hard numbers behind it. This tool will normally run you $600 a year, but for Acquia Network customers it won’t cost a dime.

So what does all of this have to do with the title of this blog? Acquia is building an API so that our partners could list their products and services on the Acquia Network and sell them to our customer base.

To aid in that process, our plan is to create an API which will allow our partners to do the following (plus a lot more):

  • Create a ‘vendor page’ on the Acquia Network with a detailed description of their company with links, logo, etc...
  • Add product listings to the Acquia Network with simple listings involving an affiliate or coupon code provided to our customers, or detailed single-sign-on setups.
  • Don’t have your own online store, or don’t like having to manage it? We’ll allow you to also list your products for sale on the Acquia Network. You do what you do best, make cool stuff, we’ll handle selling it to our customers.
  • Offer upsells and new products to folks who have already purchased one of your offerings.
  • Manage basic functions such as account creation, updating, deletion all via simple API calls
  • See how many affiliate or coupon codes have been offered to customers and work out conversion rates.

We’re preparing an initial spec of this API which we’ll be discussing in a BOF with partners at DrupalCon, and we’re eager for our partner feedback regarding what they would like to be able to do with the API, and thoughts on how they can integrate with the Acquia Network and our other services to increase the overall value to both our customers and our partner’s.