One of the biggest mistakes I made in the early days of KashFlow (I made a few!) was charging for access to our API.
What’s an API?
For the non-techies, an API is an interface that allows other programs to interact with your KashFlow data. So that could be an ecommerce system automatically entering your sales or your website automatically displaying invoices to your customers.
For the techies, it’s a .Net SOAP Webservice written in C#.
Correcting the Mistake
We started by charging £99 a year to have the API enabled on your account. Some customers on our forum pointed out that they didn’t think this was a good move.
I realised they were right and I was wrong so on 16th July 2008 we made our API freely available to everyone.
It’s taken a while to build up some inertia, but we’re now really seeing the benefit of that decision.
Third Party Applications
There are now lots of full-blown third party applications that are integrated with KashFlow via our API. They’re listed on our add-ons page; there will be more added in the next few weeks.
Whilst this is great, what I really wanted to see were some free scripts that use our API.
We often get asked by our customers to recommend a developer for a private KashFlow integrated project they have in mind. The projects have ranged in value from £50 to £75,000. We always point these customer to our Find a Developer page.
To get listed on that page we say you need to have either contributed a publicly available script or program or have worked on a custom development project. Three of the companies listed there have worked on bespoke projects and proved they work to a very high level of competency and know our API very well.
Finally, today we’ve added out first developer that’s there by virtue of having written a freely available script. intelliCODE have put together a PHP script that anyone can download and put on their own web space. It allows your customers to log in and view their invoices as well as update their contact details.
This is a great way for a development company to prove their ability, contribute something to the development community and pick up paying business.
There are some very interesting API add-ons/scripts currently being developed – it’s very hard for me to keep my mouth shut about them until they’re released – but I must!