Digg API: Innovation in Assembly

Digg API: Innovation in Assembly

In this week’s blog, I will be discussing the third Web 2.0 Pattern: ’Innovation in Assembly’ as outlined by Tim O’Reilly. I will also discuss Application Programming Interface (API), and its relevance to the third pattern along side the chosen Web 2.0 Application: ‘Digg API’.

Firstly, what is an API?

An Application Programming Interface (API) is an interface implemented by a software program which enables and facilitates the interaction with other similar software. An API makes use of the services provided by a particular software program that has been implemented by another software program.  API’s have made hooking into web applications such as Facebook and Flickr easier to access through other applications. By utilising an API, it has provided web communities with the opportunity to create an open architecture where content and data can be shared between applications and communities.

So what is Digg API?

Digg is a social media website that offers its community with a forum to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. Digg provides its community with a comprehensive list of topics that range from business, sports and even gaming news. Digg surfaces the best information as voted by its community.


The Digg API sifts through the best data and returns Digg data in a form that can be integrated into an application or a website. The Digg API was specifically built to allow users and partners to interact programmatically with Digg. Digg API is available to everyone for free of charge; however its use may be limited as it is subject to acceptance of the API License Agreement. Through Digg’s API, users can request specific information such as news stories submitted to Digg. The API offers several response types, including XML, JSON, JavaScript and even PHP as well as other open-source toolkits.

How does Digg API compare to Competitors?

MyNewsDesk is a social media website where users can effectively exchange press releases, photos, videos and social media content between companies, journalists and other interested users. The MyNewsDesk API offers structured information on press releases, news, blogs, pictures, videos, and documents via an XML format.

I feel that MyNewsDesk API is a more corporatized social media site. Although it offers its users as many topics/categories that Digg does, I feel that Digg is a much more user friendly service. One of the benefits of using the Digg API over MyNewsDesk API is that Digg is a much more well know service. According to ProgrammableWeb, there are currently 68 websites that utilise the Digg API compared to zero websites that currently utilise the MyNewsDesk API.

Future of Digg API

Founder Kevin Rose and CEO Jay Adelson discuss Digg’s new site features such as content recommendations. The following link is a video of the future of Digg.

The Future of Digg


BusinessWeek. (2010). The Future of Digg.

Digg. (2011). Digg.

EzineArticles. (2010). Top 10 Essential Application Programming Interface (API’s).

O’Reilly, T. (2005). Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software.

ProgrammableWeb. (2010). MyNewsDesk API.


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  1. #1 by Scott Macfarlane on April 7, 2011 - 11:04 am

    Great blog post, I do love a good API, and I’ve seen some awesome ones out there. Do you have any particular mashups you like in particular?

    • #2 by bkb90 on April 7, 2011 - 5:33 pm

      Hi Scott, thanks for the comment.
      In regards to your question, i do like the Only Apple Stories mashup. I like to keep myself informed on the latest gossip on Apple products and the rumours that float around surrounding Apple products and what may come next.

  2. #3 by Anonymous on April 7, 2011 - 4:50 pm

    Wow, this is an awesome blog. I’ve seen the Digg API integrated on websites but never really payed much attention to it, and now thanks to you i understand how and what it can be used for. I’ll definitely use the Digg API the next time i see it. Thanks.

  3. #4 by DJ on April 7, 2011 - 5:41 pm

    Good to see an introduction and how you step the reader through by explaining what an API is. I really like how you did this as it allows the reader to digest the information.

    When comparing to MyNewsDesk, you mentioned that Digg is much more well-known. Can you provide a ranking of the top 10 or so applications in the Social News category so that it can be clear to see where Digg stands amongst its competitors?

    Also, in regard to your referencing, please make the links ‘hot-clickable’. Check out my blog to see how I’ve done it! 🙂

    Great read!


    • #5 by bkb90 on April 7, 2011 - 8:33 pm

      Hi DJ,
      In regards to your question, here are the top 10 applications in the Social News category along with their mashups.

      Application + # of Mashups
      Digg -> 68
      ClearForest Semantic Web Services1 -> 12
      New York Times Article Search -> 11
      Daylife -> 8
      Findory -> 7
      Guardian -> 7
      Reddit -> 7
      New York Times Newswire -> 5
      NPR -> 5
      Moreover -> 4

      Thanks for the suggestion on the ‘hot-clickable’ links. And thanks for the comment.

      • #6 by DJ on April 8, 2011 - 12:20 pm

        @bkb90: Thank you for taking the time to do further research. I knew that Digg was popular, but not that it would overtake the New York Times! Great to see how Digg compares to its competitors.

        Thanks again.


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