In our previous blog post, we discussed the disconnect between API pricing plans where you pay monthly for a set number of calls and regular developer use cases. We think competition will drive new pricing models that are more developer friendly – and a potential approach could be charging for calls based on their business value. Examining webhook events available via API from Stripe, Slack, and Box gives us a forward look into how this could work.
What’s a mature API?
Forbes nicely summarizes where they see API development going in this graphic (ignore the “customer-driven platform revolution”) portion:
They make a valid point that APIs become more valuable as the data that flows from them becomes bi-directional – APIs are not only returning data based on calls, but actively pushing out data based on API activity.
This data push generally starts around activity with high business value – so we’re going to examine APIs from Stripe, Slack, and Box to get an idea of what events they make available.
Slack has a separate “Events API”
Slack has chosen to implement a separate Events API for developers who want to build apps that respond to events within Slack. Here’s the full list of event types that they can push in realtime as they happen.
Looking at this list in more detail, it’s focused around key messaging and collaboration activities:
- Creating and updating channels
- Uploading, sharing, and commenting on files
- Messages being posted to various channels
Box uses event triggers
Box uses webhooks with event triggers attached to Box files and folders to monitor events attached to files and folders and notify you when they occur. Here’s their full list of events for files and folders.
As expected for Box, events are focused around file management and collaboration:
- Uploading, previewing, and downloading files
- Comment and task assignment creation and updating
Stripe sends a variety of events
Stripe sends a wide variety of events around payments, both keyed to internal and external usage:
- Account creation and updating
- Product or plan creation
- Card charges and updates
What does it mean?
The events that these mature APIs have chosen to make available for realtime push have substantial business value for developers building apps using their functionality. As more APIs begin to offer push of data, they may move to a blended pricing model that charges more for these high-value events. We’re interested to see what happens!