APIs have become an indispensable part of modern software development, serving as the building blocks for countless apps on the Web and mobile. But in order for developers to find the particular Application Programming Interface functionality they want, they must search through an immense amount of documentation, translate that information into the programming language of their choice and then spend a ton of time coding before they see any results. Meanwhile, for API providers, promoting and easing the adoption of an API is equally complicated, involving sampling code in a growing number of languages, designing client libraries to support them and developing sample apps to to demonstrate all of their API’s capabilities.
In other words, there’s a lot of pain for both developers and API providers.
That’s where Boston’s LucyBot comes in. Founded by brothers—Bobby Brennan, formerly of Google Cambridge, and Andrew Brennan, most recently in sales at InsightSquared—the startup’s tool teaches developers how to interact with any API. LucyBot’s cookbooks walk devs through core use cases step by step, writing sample code along the way. The tool, which is designed to be used alongside traditional API documentation like Swagger and I/O Docs, translates API requests into several different programming languages so that developers can learn in their preferred one. Those cross-language code snippets then expand into a visually-rich Web app, offering a demo that empowers developers to better understand the API’s output.
LucyBot came about, as many innovations do, as a result of personal frustration. While working on projects related to cross-language code automation for over a year, Bobby realized that it took far too long to get up and running with a new API—particularly when he was only trying to build small but useful apps with very little code. Thus, the idea for LucyBot was born.
“I realized this was the perfect way to apply my work on cross-language code automation, as REST APIs only have a few degrees of freedom, and are inherently language-agnostic,” he said in an email.
Right now, the team is working out of a home office in Brighton.
“We’re big fans of the Lean Startup, and are keeping our costs low while we work with a handful of API Providers to iterate on the product and build something truly valuable,” Bobby told me.
Last night, the Brennan brothers quietly launched a basic, free-tier API, and the goal is to provide fully-functional cookbooks in the coming months. The duo is also currently working closely with several strategic partners, who will be integrating LucyBot into their developer portals over the next three to six months. During that time, the objective is to fine-tune LucyBot based on feedback from partners and consumers. Then, once they’re satisfied with the developer experience of the product, they will launch a fuller public API that exposes everything LucyBot is capable of.
Image of woman on smartphone via Shutterstock.