First off what is an API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. When software developers "publish" their code — to a website or to the iPhone for example — in essence, they display information to you in new ways and give you tools. What an API does is organize code into usable streams of data for other developers to work with. In the case of Etsy, our company's engineers can open the doors to third party developers, who can then innovate and create new tools for Etsians (some of these developers are motivated because their friends or relatives sell on Etsy; some charge a fee to use their tools; or some simply "craft code" for the love of making things and may ask for donations to support their efforts). An API is basically a set of tools that allows developers to build new applications based on the unique data and capabilities provided by, in this case, Etsy.com.To give a few examples of how developers use APIs consider all the Facebook Apps there are available for users or all the tools for Twitter users. Those are all built using an API.
So what does this mean for Etsy seller? New tools and lots of them. Now that any third party developer who wants to can create tools for sellers there will be lots to choose from. Some already using the API from the beta testing are Etsy Hacks, Maker Spot, CraftCult, and SoopSee. I've already reviewed Etsy Hacks and CraftCult's Heartomatic before but I'm eager to try out the other two new tools and review them here soon. In the next few months I expect an explosion of new tools for sellers, some great, probably a lot that are so-so, and probably a few really bad ones.