Why we built a Print API for Printchomp and how we did it

Posted By on Feb 3, 2015 | 0 comments

Over a year ago, Printchomp started working on our API. As we brought on thousands of printers we started to have developers reach out to us and ask how they could leverage this network. We quickly obliged them and started building our Print API.

If you want to skip the article and get started using the Printchomp Print API go here.

Declan Whelan was the primary architect of our API. He wanted to make sure that not only external users could consume it, but our own internal development would be tied to our API infrastructure. This also changed the way we approached our own development of the API as we became primary consumers of it.

We built it based upon a number of principles.

1. Scalability – Because we had 1000s of printers and many developers wanting to integrate we needed to make sure it would scale. Scalability meant a number of things. The ability of our printers to handle the load, the ability of external developers to ping our platform as needed as their apps scaled. Additionally scalability is crucial for offerings where we offering Direct Mail integration with our platform. We wanted to make sure if a person initiated a direct mail campaign from our platform it would scale both from a technology and pricing perspective.

2. Flexibility – When looking at the Print API landscape we noticed a few things and this was immediately validated by some of our early customers. When we had people approach us about the lack of customizable products. Because our printer base is so strong, we can literally offer any product under the sun, and customize it for any developer. This gives us a lot of ability to really help solve problems and not just offer a cookie cutter solution. We have the ability to spin up new products for you to order via API in less than 30 minutes if needed. Listen a little bit more about our product selection. One thing that we offer that is unique is multiple pick-pack and ship facilities across North America. That way we can find the best way to distribute based upon price and turnaround time. We can either adopt a print on demand approach or stockpile at our facilities and deplete if there is a fixed demand.

3. Monetization – Most people looking for a Print API are looking for either two principal things, either automation to reduce costs or monetize their digital assets in some way. We wanted to offer a variety of ways for people to monetize their app and providing value within their own ecosystem. So please, if you want to know how we can help you monetize your app or marketplace please get in touch with us, we will be happy to assist.

4. Developer friendly – We wanted to most of all built a great experience for developers. No matter what platform they were building on, iOS, Android, Ruby, Python, PHP, Java, C# or others. We wanted to make it as easy as possible to get going fast. We used Apiary for our documentation because out of the box it provided fantastic code samples for developers. Check out our Print API Documentation here

5. Automation – I am a firm believer that print will only become more automated. Manual mundane tasks in print will continue to become automated and we will provide a seamless ramp from manual ordering, to web ordering and subsequently API automation. I was a guest speaker at the Print Leadership Summit this past year  and was able to speak to many about the future direct of print and I firmly believe that API’s will play a huge role going forward in the world of print.

I am excited by the direction of our API and where it is taking our company and the doors it is opening up as well as the feedback we have been getting. We continue to evolve our offering based upon new feedback and ideas.

If you want to talk to me about the API – I am easy to get a hold of joseph@printchomp.com or @jpuopolo

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