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Feeds API & SDK

Weavy's components and app development tools make adding table-stakes social features easier than ever

What is a Feeds API?

Feeds API

A Feeds API connects your frontend application to the backend of a service which manages a feed containing data from multiple sources in an application. If you have the need to aggregate news, ecommerce, or social media content from multiple sources into your application, you will be turning to either developing or using  an existing third-party Feed A/PI. 

 

Using a third-party feed API provider has numerous benefits for you as it eliminates the need for extensive resources to develop the backend infrastructure of the Feed. Third-party Feed APIs offer well documented API references and endpoints alongside with customer success teams ready to assist in the 'feed integration' process.

 

Incorporating an activity feed is an effective way to boost engagement in your app. This can lead to positive ripple effects such as enhancing user satisfaction and reducing churn rate if your app operates on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. The concept is straightforward: you're incorporating user behavior – browsing and interacting with feeds – into your app. Studies have shown that users are more likely to stick with an app where they can engage with interesting content, rather than moving to another dedicated platform. In a productivity context, activity feeds provide a way for users to share regular updates and host contextual discussions about those updates.

What is an activity feed?

An activity feed is a dynamic feature found within many apps and websites that provides a live, organized stream of updates and actions. These actions can include anything from social media updates to notifications about project tasks, and are regularly used by users to engage with an app and stay informed.

 

At its core, an activity feed is made up of various activity feed components. These are the building blocks that make up the feed, providing a structure for displaying information. Common activity feed components might include individual update cards or tiles, comments sections, like or reaction options, and sharing capabilities. Each component is designed to enable users to interact with the feed in a meaningful way, promoting user engagement and creating a sense of community within the app.



Feed Components

There are three major components of a Feeds API to take into consideration:


1. Design

One crucial aspect of activity feed components is their design. Good activity feed design strikes a balance between functionality and aesthetics. It allows users to easily understand and interact with the feed, while also providing a visually appealing interface that fits seamlessly into the overall app design. This can often be achieved using pre-designed activity feed UI kits, which offer a set of customizable design components that can be easily integrated into the app.

2. Functionality

Activity feed features provide the various functions that users have come to expect from a feeds experience. These features might include the ability to like or react to updates, comment on posts, share updates with others, and more. Some activity feeds might also offer advanced features, such as the ability to filter or sort updates, bookmark important posts, or receive push notifications about specific updates and posts.

 

The features of an activity feed can significantly impact user engagement and satisfaction. For instance, a feed that offers a wide range of interaction options might encourage users to spend more time in the app, interacting with updates and engaging with other users. On the other hand, a feed that lacks key features or is difficult to navigate might frustrate users and discourage them from using the app.

 

3. Backend

Activity feeds provide an attractive frontend that consumes the data from a feed backend service via an API supporting either the REST or GraphQL protocols. The feed backend includes the servers and databases to store and process the updates, alongside algorithms which determine what updates to display, in what order, and the APIs that enable the front-end components to interact with the backend systems.

 

Developing the software components for a feed is a complex process which requires careful planning and execution to ensure that the feed functions smoothly and efficiently. Feeds for modern applications have the need to incorporate machine learning models to provide enhanced features for data processing, content personalization and intelligent user content recommendations. Feeds also have the need for scalability and security as they provide data for large amount of users over extended periods and they require robust security measures to protect user data and prevent unauthorized access.

What is a news feed API?

A news feed API serves as the conduit linking the front end of your application to the backend services that manage a news feed. This type of API provides a structured way to access, retrieve, and manipulate the data required to deliver a compelling, dynamic, and scalable newsfeed to your users. Whether your app serves millions of users or a small community, a news feed API combined with a powerful backend environment ensures the feed scalability necessary to handle the load.

 

If you’re familiar with social media you’ve no doubt interacted with a news feed.  A news feed is the constantly updating list of stories or posts in the middle of your home page. It includes status updates, photos, videos, links, app activity, and likes from people, pages, and groups that you follow on the platform.

 

In that way, many social media companies operate more as news feed as a service. Combined with news scraping APIs and RSS feeds, user generated content can be interspersed with regular updates from reliable news services, which provides additional content to engage users.

 

What ties all of this together are the newsfeed components, the various elements that make up the news feed, including individual posts or stories, reaction buttons, comment sections, sharing options, and more. These components are designed to be interactive, encouraging users to engage with the content and other users, fostering a vibrant, active community within the app. Through the use of a news feed API, developers can easily manage these components, creating a personalized, engaging, and scalable news feed for their users.

Activity feed examples

You can see many activity feed examples across a range of digital platforms and applications, each providing a unique spin on presenting users with updates and interactions. 

Social Media Feeds

One common example is the feed on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. Here, users are presented with a stream of content from their connections and followed pages or profiles, including posts, images, videos, and more. These feeds are dynamic, continually updated with fresh content to keep users engaged.

 

Feeds within Product Management 

The home feed within project management tools such as Asana or Trello is another practical example of an activity feed. Here, the feed provides updates on the project’s progress based on changes made to the project. Changes such as tasks being marked as completed, new comments on tasks, changes to due dates or even new people being added to the project. These feeds are critical for keeping team members informed and aligned on project status.

 

An important factor to consider is relevance, high activity feed relevance means that the updates presented to users are of high importance and significance. For a feed to be engaging, it must provide updates that are relevant to the user's interests or needs. This is often achieved through algorithms that analyze user behavior and preferences to customize the feed content. For instance, a social media feed might prioritize posts from frequently interacted-with friends, while a project management feed might highlight updates on tasks that the user is assigned to. In this way, the relevance of an activity feed is pivotal to its success in engaging users and enhancing their experience within the app.

Build vs Buy

Whether you're developing an entirely new app or adding new features to an existing one, the engineering process could be expensive and time-consuming. However, if your need is to have an activity feed in your app, the easiest approach with the least Time-To-Market (TTM) is to buy into an existing feed API. Buying into an existing  feed API allows you to tap into it’s functionalities without incurring extensive development or maintenance work. While some argue that the cost of an API may exceed in-house development, it's crucial to acknowledge scenarios where using an API is less time-consuming, more cost-effective, and more reliable than building everything from scratch.


When searching for a Feed API, you need to outline your product needs, then evaluate the features of each Feed API you find to know if their features will meet those needs. You also need to consider the following general aspects: 


1. Cost
Many providers offer feed APIs, each with varying pricing models. Although some might provide appealing pricing tiers, these may come with usage restrictions that could lead to cost overruns. 

2. Functionality
Despite the core principles of feed remaining consistent across APIs, some are fine-tuned for specific use cases. For instance, one provider might prioritize an activity feed React for customer-facing apps, while another might emphasize activity feed Java for building complex backend structures.

3. Compatibility
Simply put: can the feed API integrate with the existing technologies your are using to build your app? Ensure that any API provider you're considering has detailed documentation for the tech stacks and programming libraries your app employs. It's also crucial that, if you can't commit a full-time front-end UX designer to the feed components, the API has compatible 'activity feed UI kits'. Commercial API providers often offer a collection of UI kits designed for the most popular front-end libraries, including React, JS, Swift, and Android SDK.

Glossary

Feeds API Provider

A Feeds API Provider is a third-party service that handles all the complexities of building and maintaining a chat server. These complexities includes automatically scaling the chat server or provisioning database and virtual machine resources to store data and run the backend applications respectively. 


Developers integrate Feeds API providers into the frontend client of their product either through a Feeds API or Feeds SDK supported by the Feeds Provider. To minimize cost, Feeds API Providers use a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYUG) model to ensure that developers only pay for the resources their frontend clients consume.

Feeds API 

An API is the communication protocol for interacting with a service. A Feeds API makes it possible for developers to integrate a chat server into their frontend clients and perform CREATE, RETRIEVE, UPDATE and DELETE (CRUD) operations on the chat resources created by the Feeds API Provider.  


Developers access Feeds APIs over secure or encrypted HTTP connections through their REST or GraphQL endpoints and they require authentication to protect sensitive user data.

Feeds SDK

A Software Development Kit (SDK) contains lines of well-documented code for developers to use when building an application. In most cases, an SDK abstracts over an external API and provides easy-to-use methods or functions to interact with. 


In a Feeds context, a Feeds SDK makes it less complex for developers to build a chat application as it abstracts over the Feed API and handles difficult aspects of working with the Feed API such as managing the API authentication state, request or timeout retries.

Feeds API & your app

Built to work together

Feeds is designed to be tightly integrated with your product without adding to maintenance needs or requiring different developer skillsets

Feature complete

Everything users expect from activity feeds built and ready to embed.

UI Kits

UI components pre-built in React, JS, and more for fast frontend deployment.

Built to serve

Host from the cloud, on prem, and anything in between.

Packet managed

Install activity feeds components directly from NuGet and npm.

Ready, fork, develop

Get our Open Source UI components on GitHub - clone, fork, and start developing.

Deploy in minutes

Spin up a fully functional Feeds server in minutes using Weavy.io .

Designed for developers

Keep your place in the driver's seat

Our Feeds API and developer tools are designed to enable you to add a fully-featured in-app feeds experience that fits flawlessly from back to front

UI Components

Open-Source, feature-complete Feeds UI components for various frontend frameworks.

Web API

Feeds API with endpoints for manipulating objects such as posts, users, spaces, and more.

Webhooks

Webhooks to build integrations that subscribe to events on the Feeds backend.

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