Hosting APIs are an important part of allowing clients to create their own hosting experiences and solutions, increasing their flexibility and value.
The best suits are tailored to fit their wearer perfectly. Off-the-peg clothes can be almost right, almost fit, but they are never going to be as good as a made-to-measure outfit cut and stitched with care to the exact requirements of the wearer.
In the same way, off-the-peg hosting solutions can give an almost perfect fit, but anything designed to meet the needs of most people is not going to fully satisfy anyone. There will always be edge cases and specific requirements that a universal solution won’t account for or will make more difficult than they need to be.
While it’s not really practical to completely redesign interfaces and platforms for each individual use case, we have something that’s just as good: the API.
Application programming interfaces are an acknowledgement that there is no “one true way” to do anything. For web applications and web control panels, an API allows hosting companies to think about what they need to achieve and then implement it, rather than first contemplating the limitations of their tools and deciding to do what is possible within those constraints.
Control panel APIs put the power into the hands of clients and allow them to shape their hosting experience. By breaking down the functionality of a control panel and exposing the individual components to developers, they are empowered to compose workflows, processes, and solutions that fit their needs and the needs of their clients exactly.
Most companies don’t take advantage of control panel APIs, instead being content with the interfaces provided to them — that’s understandable, those interfaces are designed by experts to cover all of the bases. But, they are still a vital part of the hosting stack, helping to capture the custom of power users, who value the ability to build client applications and automate those tasks that are important to their clients. And, where the power users go, the regular users will follow.
Victor Brown is an inbound marketer and technical writer for Cirrus Hosting, the leading Canadian hosting company. Follow Victor and Cirrus on Twitter @CirrusTechLtd, Like them on Facebook, and you can check out their hosting blog http://www.cirrushosting.com/web-hosting-blog/.