Once a number of developers start using your API through their applications, you will notice that a community of interacting parties will start growing around your product. Applications and developers in your community might develop different or converging interests regarding your product, and a set of relationships will form that you will need to manage directly or indirectly. In this chapter we will analyze these relationships and explore what you can do to maximize the satisfaction of your direct and indirect customers. We will focus particularly on how data can help you manage your relationship with your customers and developer community.
Your API and the applications that are using it, no matter how many or few these may be, have created a community of interacting parties. This community is often compared to an ecosystem.
In ecology, an ecosystem is a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. If we translate this concept to a system of developers, applications, and APIs, we can start to see the analogies with the natural world. In an app ecosystem, the parties forming it interact to form different relationships with various purposes: they exchange data streams and communicate with one another and, perhaps, the rest of the world. Figure 11-1 illustrates this idea.
When you start managing a complex application ecosystem, you have already built a successful API that other developers have ...