Let me answer the last question first:
Why should you care?
You shouldn't care unless
you are an XXX coder who can leverage API discover tools and services in the development of your Stack Exchange API code.
Otherwise, feel free to add
[soapi.xxx] to your ignored tags list.
What is SOAPI?
The Soapi eco-system has evolved from a machine reader/parser/generator written to generate accurate and usable meta-data from the automatically published documentation help pages of the Stack Exchange API.
This meta data was used to provide various services to other API developers, on http://Soapi.info, as well as further the development of the Soapi client libraries via code generation and automated regression testing of the API.
During the beta period, the api development team would regularly (and understandably, mostly) push breaking changes with little or no announcement. The tools and services provided by http://Soapi.info proved to be of more than a little value.
Now that the beta period is over, the automatic code generation of the soapi libraries has long since stopped and the code for each has been refined and honed into robust and featured code bases with full documentation suitable for general consumption.
There are several sitings of usage of the Soapi libraries in the wild as well as the tools and demos I have provided and these are listed below.
Stack Exchange API Development Tools and Services
These were built upon a an agent I wrote that monitors the api documentation in realtime and generates an abstract object model which is made available to other API developers in the various forms listed below.
Before the API was frozen, it was also used to generate the core library code for the Soapi.CS and Soapi.JS client libraries allowing me to focus on design rather than the minutia of tracking the daily changes to the API. Test suites run daily against this code helped expose many bugs and other issues in the API beta.
- SOAPI-WATCH - A realtime service that notifies subscribers via twitter when the API changes in any way.
- SOAPI-REST - Complete StackOverflow API specification in machine readable format
- SOAPI-DIFF - Your app broke? Check SOAPI-DIFF to find out what changed in the API
- SOAPI-EXPLORE - Self-updating single page JavaSript API test harness
- SOAPI-PARAM-EXAM - A flat sortable, filterable list of all parameters in the Stack Overflow api.
Stack Exchange Client Libraries
- Soapi.CS - A fully relational fluent .NET Stack Exchange API client library for .NET 3.5/4.0, Silverlight 3/4, Windows Phone 7 and Mono.
Apps and Applets written using the Soapi Stack Exchange client libraries
- SOREP - Trilogy Site Ranking - For those who need to know. Add your ranking to your Stack XXX Flair.
- SOAPI-NOTIFY - Stay ahead of the pack with new question notification
- Soapi.FindUser - Quickly find a any Stack Exchange user (windows click-once deployment)
- Soapi.FindUser (silverlight) Quickly find any user anywhere in the Stackiverse!
- StackAd* - An Easy Way to Display Open-Source Ads on Your Site/Blog
- StackAd Scroller* - An Easy Way to Display LOTS of Open-Source Ads on Your Site/Blog
- Stacked Odds* - Finding the questions that you can answer
- StackCenter* - Your One Stop for Everything StackExchange
- Stack Users Lite - Search for users on all Stack Exchange sites and view their associated accounts
- Exterminators - Bugs and Features, Present and Past and those who brought them to light.
(*)apps written by others using Soapi
How you can help SOAPI
Stack Overflow offers free advertising for Open Source Projects, such as Soapi. The criteria for inclusion in ad rotation is votes.
Soapi would benefit from the contributions of greater minds than mine, so if you could please upvote this answer, it would be greatly appreciated.
And if you like any of the members of the Soapi eco-system, feel free to cast a vote on them as well.
(there is a contest with prizes going on. hint. hint. nudge. nudge)