Some answers to frequent questions.

What is an API?

An API is a set of definitions and protocols that facilitate the creation and integration of application software. It is sometimes seen as a contract between an information provider and an information user, which defines the content requested from the consumer (the call) and the content requested from the producer (the response).

What APIs do you accept?

We accept REST APIs only. REST is a set of architectural constraints. It is neither a protocol nor a standard. API developers can implement REST in a number of ways.
When a client issues a request through a RESTful API, the API transfers a representation of the state of the resource to the requestor or endpoint. This information, or representation, is provided over the HTTP protocol in one of the following formats: JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), HTML, XLT, Python, PHP, or plain text. The most commonly used programming language is JSON because, contrary to what the name suggests, it is not language-dependent and can be read by humans as well as machines.

What is Blobr in short?

Blobr enables small and large companies to turn their APIs into a profitable business. Blobr works on the user experience to make it as seamless as possible. That’s why Blobr has combined all elements (API management, API security, API testing, API analytics, API monitoring, API monetization) to serve better API products. Blobr's vision is to foster the use and share of data between B2B companies. Our vision is to productize data assets so it becomes easy for business users to share and monetize data.

What is Blobr's business model and pricing?

We have a subscription based business model. On top of that, if you are monetizeing your APIs on Blobr, we take a cut based on the revenue generated thanks to Blobr. You can see more details on our pricing page.

What is needed to start using Blobr?

To start using Blobr, you need at least one working REST API. Then, it does not matter whether you have Open API specs for that REST API. If you don’t, you can still manually add the endpoints. Once you have connected your APIs, this means we are able to reach them. You can then start to create API Products out of them. Because we act as an API Proxy, we are able, according to the rules you’ve defined in your API Products, to give or restrict the access the end users.

Is Blobr an API Proxy? How reliable is Blobr?

Blobr can actually be divided into two parts sitting on different infrastructure types:
  • Blobr Dashboard and Blobr API Portal: The dashboard is used to connect APIs, create API products, add customization etc. The API portal is used to display API products and onboard your users. Those two different interfaces are deployed in seven locations and are available everywhere in the world. Those two interfaces are completely unrelated to the Blobr API proxy.
  • Blobr API Proxy: This is the tech part enabling access to API users. There is geo-redundancy of the API proxy with idempotency. This means that the proxy behaves in the exact same way, whatever the region. AWS checks every 3 seconds which of the deployed regions is responding the fastest.
As a consequence, by design, the maximum consequence of an SLA problem would be 3 seconds consecutively as there is a fallback mechanism moving from one API proxy to another in case of a longer response time. The proxy is only based on one function and updates are extensively tested beforehand. In the worst-case scenario, if there are bugs in the Blobr API provider interface, the API proxy is still able to manage as per the rules.
At Blobr, we have created a build factory with automatic tests, executed everyday. We push our developments to production only when we have 100% success on the tests. The production workflow is even further tested as it is redirected to pre-production to perform additional testing on new features we release before it gets to production environment.

How is monetization managed through Blobr?

Monetization is handled through Stripe Connect. It is the fastest and easiest way to integrate payments into an existing software. With Stripe Connect, we were able to build and scale end-to-end payment experiences from instant onboarding to global payouts — all while having Stripe handle payments KYC. We also chose Stripe Connect because it allows us to manage everything related to payments without ever having access to your Stripe account. With the help of Stripe Connect we do not touch your money. Instead, your money is transferred directly from your customers to your bank account.
In order to benefit from Stripe, you just need to have a Stripe account (it only takes a few minutes to create one).
To monetize your API Products, you then have several business model options on Blobr:
  • Flat-fee: your API Products are monetized based on a subscription fee. You can add a soft limit so that users pay an extra fee per call, above that limit.
  • Per-unit: your API Products are monetized based on usage.
  • Tiered: your API Products are monetized differently based on the tiers you define.
  • Custom: your API Products are featured with no specific business model. Instead a "Contact us" CTA is displayed so that you can be in touch with Providers and negotiate the price.
For each and every business model, you can monetize based on API calls or any other unit you define. You also have the ability to add some Free trial options, so that Providers can test the Products before actually paying for using them.

Can I use my own authentication solution?

Yes you can. As a reminder, we are able to authenticate to your APIs via many different authentication systems (Bearer Token, API Key, Basic Auth, OAuth 2.0).
But in the case of a custom authentication solution that you would like your customers to use, you can use your own API authentication flow. At the time you connect your API on Blobr, you can select a custom option and detail your own authentication flow. This means that your users will have to follow your authentication process and add the Blobr API Key on top of your existing authentication flow.

What about the DNS? Can I change it?

Yes, you can both configure your developer portal URL and your API Product base URL. You are able to set up those independently, from the Settings in the dashboard section. You will just need to update your Name Server type records to put in your DNS manager (e.g. GoDaddy or other) to validate the delegation. These features are accessible from the Grow plan.

How is API versioning managed with Blobr?

There’s a lot of ambiguity around API versioning, making it difficult for people to choose one way to version APIs. But most often, API Providers manage different versions of their API (main, public, beta, deprecated etc) on their docs. They then communicate about the changes with their customers thanks to API version release notes.
API versioning is handled on Blobr in a seamless way. Since you build API products that your users subscribe to, we know who consumes what. When you add a new version of your API source, you may decide to replicate the changes to the API products. In this case, you can send a changelog communication to your users on your behalf. This ensures that they don't miss anything, especially since the information is tailored to their use case. Instead of reading a lengthy API version release note, they will receive a changelog communication that is only relevant to the endpoints they benefit from.
If you have breaking changes with your API, you can duplicate your existing API product to create a new one and change the version of the API source. As a consequence, you will be able to turn the newly created API product as public and the old product as private. It means that your users can still access the old API products and new users will only see your API products with the new version. You can then communicate to your old users when you want them to move to the new version of the API.
This way of managing API versions helps to reduce the need to create and communicate new API versions to all users.

Can Blobr be accessed through an API?

Not yet. But giving you access to an API is a priority on our roadmap. Once the API is available, you’ll be able to replicate any action you take in the dashboard. Some examples: connect your API, create API products, invite users, customize the developer portal, etc.

How do you compare with API management platforms?

An API management platform is a tool used to access, distribute, monitor and analyze API usage. Let's say Blobr handles most parts of API management, but also much more than that. Even on the API management steps that API management tools cover, they are difficult to configure unless you are very technical. These tools were built by developers for developers. Blobr on the contrary is allows you to create a developer portal in a few clicks, regardless of your technical skills.
On Blobr, if you have an existing working API, anyone can easily create and configure an API portal, in minutes, and without any technical skills. We are focusing on providing the best possible experience for your users.

How much latency does Blobr create?

We create a latency of about 100 milliseconds per API call in average. For most use cases, this has no impact on the final user experience. We plan to improve down to 50 milliseconds in the coming months.