Posted by: Michael Hennessy | July 21, 2008

The LinkedIn API leaves .NET developers out in cold

Ok, a quick warning that this is a technical blog entry that has nothing to do with talent Marketing.

So, recently LinkedIn released their public API to allow 3rd party developers to integrate their systems directly with the LinkedIn System. This allows everything from managing a persons linked-in contacts to posting jobs. A great idea…and one that i’m sure will be very usefull to many companies.

As we started to dig into the API however, something struck me as very odd and disappointing. As part of their API documentation, they provide “sample code” to help you get up and running. Considering the overly complex nature of their Authentication model, how they perform some API calls, and lack of any debug info on failed calls, the sample code is really a must. So, what languages do they support?

Ruby, Perl, PHP, Python and Java.

Notice anything missing? Yes, that’s right, zero support for ANY .NET languages! Now, considering the size and number of .NET developers ….this was really disappointing. And considering they provided support for 5 other languages (I’m sure there areĀ thousands of python Enterprise level developers), and skipped .NET, you get the very strong sense that LinkedIn does not like Microsoft very much. However, not liking Microsoft, and deciding to not support the most popular, or 2nd most popular developer environment today doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

So, you combine the fact that there is no support for .NET AND the fact that the linked-in API provides you zero debug information (yes, i said zero), you are basically left in the dark to hunt & peck at attempting various things to get your code working. Extremely frustrating and disappointing.

On the one slightly positive side, the support person did try to provide some hints as to what might be wrong, but since they don’t support .NET at all, the typical answer you get is “we don’t know .NET, so just keep trying…”.

All i can say is, if your a .NET development shop that wants to integrate with LinkedIn, please let them know that they need to provide at least some level of support for .NET developers.

Ok, rant over.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the insight on the Linkedin API, and sorry to hear about the lack of .NET…

    Speaking of the release of the public API, I have been unable to find public access? Were you selected as development partner, or has there actually been a public release? (Judging from the linked in blog, it doesn’t look like it…)

  2. I am having difficulty implementing the API update status call with .NET I was wondering if you ever got around to solving your issue with Linkedin in .NET. I have been talking to the support team but I cant seem to get past HTTP 500 Internal server error on Linkedin

  3. Hi folks I’m Paul Lindner from the LinkedIn Platform Team. Our apologies about the omission of .NET from the sample code. It’s not one of our core strengths.

    However the value of the LinkedIn developer community has already come to the rescue. Faith Yasar recently posted a comprehensive guide to integrating with DotNetOpenAuth:

    http://developer.linkedin.com/thread/1230

  4. LinkedIn has the worst API of any social network out there.. period. You can make it work… kinda… with .net, but every time you ask a question, they just deflect you at their documentation, and their documentation blows. I found some sample code that helps, but it seems linkedin has intentionally made the integration process a lot harder for no reason. What I accomplished with 15 lines of code to integrate a simple OAuth and status update with facebook, took nearly 900 lines of code for LinkedIn…. and the odd part is it’s like their proud of how much harder they made it.. ridiculous… if they want to have developer integrate with their site, they’re gonna have to open their eye’s, and provide a toolkit or something that is actually user friendly and works… they’re lucky I have to integrate with all three FB, TW, and LI for a project for work, or I would have dropped them from my code in a heartbeat for the insanity they make you got through… booo to LI until the support one of the most used languages sets in corporate America…


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