Stream API: Hosted API for News & Activity Streams

Activity Streams have become an important part of the digital user experience. Activity Streams have been popularized by social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (amongst others). The Stream API saves teams from re-inventing the feed. Scalability, reliability and maintenance of your feeds doesn’t have to be an engineering headache that can come with in-house solutions. Stream API allows devs to focus on what makes your app unique.

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Stream APIs: Your Microservice

Developers and Product owners are looking at API’s as the new “Full Time Employees” (Techcrunch). APIs are being used for everything from devops to marketing segmentation. APIs offer a dedicated solution to important use cases that are challenging to engineering. Using the Stream API gives you another building block to enhance your app and focus on your core competency.

You likely use Mailgun for your email, Twilio for your SMS, Algolia for your search, Mapbox for your maps, Keen for data and now you can use Stream for your feeds and notification systems. APIs empower developers to build amazing products.

Do you prefer open-source libraries over a hosted API? The Stream-Framework was created by Stream Co-Founders and is the most widely used open source solution for building scalable newsfeeds and notification systems using Cassandra and/or Redis.

Open-source is great, but even small changes can distract from other important engineering tasks. Creating your feeds with a beautiful and easy to use REST API is significantly easier and cheaper over the long-term. Stream supports clients available for Node, Ruby, PHP, Python, Go, Scala and Java. It is easy to get started and free up to 3 million feed updates and saves you the hassle of maintaining Cassandra, Redis, Faye, RabbitMQ and Celery workers.

You use Mailgun for your email, Twilio for your SMS, Algolia for your search, Mapbox for your maps, Keen for data and now you can use Stream for your feeds and notification systems. APIs empower developers to build amazing products.
“If software is eating the world, SaaS APIs are eating the development world.”
Nicolas Dessaigne
  • Stream
  • Now
  • Proven Reliability
  • N/A
  • Aggregation, Ranked Feeds, Analytics, Personalization
  • Usage Based
  • In-House
  • Months / Years
  • Unknown
  • 1-2 FTE for mid-size deployments
  • N/A
  • Build, Maintain, Host

Spending a small amount of time with the Stream API can have a significant impact on your product. The Stream API is like having a dedicated engineering team that is solely focused constantly improving the quality, speed and reliability of the service. It’s not a team replacement, it’s a team addition!

Following as a technical concept sounds fairly trivial, but we can assure you that doing it in a future-friendly, reliable way, at scale is a challenge. We leaned heavily on a 3rd party service, Stream, to handle the infrastructure and aggregation, which let us launch Following now and not in 2020. Huge shoutout to their team for all of their help with making the launch a success!
Luke Chesser

How Stream Feeds Work

Stream automatically sets up a default feed group with your first app (try it out). The group consists of four feed types.

Flat User Feed
Flat Timeline Feed
Aggregated Feeds
Notification Feeds

If you’ve gone through our Getting Started, your default feed groups have two flat feeds in them. Flat feeds are the only type that supports following (functionality that isn’t needed for notifications or aggregation). Apps like Instagram built their user experience around a flat, chronological feed. We do what we can to make the API user experience straightforward as possible.

Important Takeaway

With the above information, let’s consider an important takeaway: building anything like this in-house would require hours of research, planning, testing and systems architecture to get to the concept of a “feed group”. With the Stream Feed API, it’s already built and ready to use. You’re free to spend your valuable resources on other problems that can’t be handled with a robust hosted API.

APIs are here to stay. They enable developers to do so much more; faster.

“APIs are truly democratizing startup creation. Not only will you practically need no money to get started, you won’t need any tech skills either. All you will need is a keen understanding of the user and how to take your product to market”
Guarav Jain, Techcrunch

News Feed API

Integrating with the Stream API offers you a solution some big challenges. Stream is dedicated and invested in giving developers an API solution to feeds and activity streams. This is our focus.

We have spent years building and maintaining large scale feeds. It’s given us the privilege to solve some of the hardest problems when it comes to speed and reliability. We’ve consistently matched (or beat) benchmarks for updates against the leading social networks online. With our API, your data is always backed up in multiple locations around the world, protecting your users and your business.

Benefits of our Hosted API

  • Flexibility: Craft the perfect UX
  • Customer Experience: Engagement and Retention
  • Control: monitor details that are vital to feed performance and track usage metrics
  • Costs: Lower than an in-house team and quicker time to market

We have spent years building and maintaining large scale feeds. It’s given us the privilege to solve some of the hardest problems when it comes to speed and reliability. We’ve consistently matched (or beat) benchmarks for updates against the leading social networks online. With our API, your data is always backed up in multiple locations around the world, protecting your users and your business.

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