LinkedIn has set the Gold standard when it comes to professional networking. Professionals around the world are on it and you might want to take full advantage of data LinkedIn provides with the help of API/SDKs for 3rd party Apps.

What LinkedIn offers

  1. REST API
  2. JavaScript SDK
  3. Android SDK

and great documentation for how to use APIs/SDKs

REST API offers primary means of communication with LinkedIn database. JavaScript and Mobile SDKs are wrappers around the REST APIs and it would make it easier and quicker for you to integrate LinkedIn APIs. Old school and purists would still want to get familiar with REST APIs and create wonderful experiences for app users.

Privacy and Security of data is fast becoming sensitive issue for people across the world. In order to make sure right user or right app is using the right data LinkedIn provides industry grade OAuth 2.0. With OAuth 2.0 you as a developer will be required to authenticate the user credentials and get authorize the app to access user specific data.

Data Format(Send/Receive)

LinkedIn provides user data in by default XML format, you need to specify if you want data to be available in json format. Specify format of data that you would be posting using API as well.

Request Throttling

LinkedIn has this concept of request throttling in order to prevent abuse and provide stable access to data. No. of calls your app can make would vary depending on kind of requests you make.

LinkedIn has following throttles : Application throttle, User Throttle, and Developer throttle. The above options marks boundaries very clearly for API requests made by Application, User and Developers.  As a Developer you need to configure your LinkedIn App, provide callback URL, Get Client ID and Client Secret, Get Authorization Code, Get App approval from LinkedIn. Get Access token using the authorization code. Use Access tokens in all future API calls. Access tokens have lifetime and once they expire you need to get new Access token.

JavaScript SDK

You might want to add LinkedIn to your website to give it the professional feel with data of various professionals who would be using your site. LinkedIn’s JavaScript SDK would help you do it quickly and easily. SDK is compatible with all modern browser with an exception of iOS 5+.

You need to configure your LinkedIn App in similar way as you do for Mobile App. Add SDK related script in the <head> section of your HTML page.  This would include api_key, onLoad action list, authorize flag and language code settings. You would be authenticating and authorizing uses in a similar manner as you do for mobile apps.

How to Make your App Secure

Member’s data privacy is important to LinkedIn and it must be important to you as a developer as well. In order to make App secure OAuth 2.0 is being used. Make sure you are not asking for any single additional permission than what is required to get things done. List of permissions would be depending on functionality of the App. Do not expose API or Secret Key in any form. Try to guard API key and Secret key as much as you can. Use HTTPS to ensure that no one can track API calls or data you are getting by making API calls.

Phishing & Cross-site Request Forgery Issues

Fake websites with look and feel similar to LinkedIn can put your app users and their data in wrong hands. In order to avoid this educate user as to not enter credentials in any phishing website. Always use state parameter to protect against CSRF. State  would be string value that would be unique and will not have any sensitive details.

Share on LinkedIn

Big websites like wordpress.com, techcrunch, Business Insider and <re/code> are using Share on LinkedIn. Share on LinkedIn would increase your user base and traffic to your website. Professionals means more money for you and content shared by professionals means more business. And with possibility of your content that can go viral possibilities are endless. User can add text and url while sharing on LinkedIn using your mobile or web application.

Manage Company Pages

You need to keep you company page up to day in order to engage more professional and showcase your strength and portfolio of products and services. Page analytics provides you insight into your posts and it’s reachability. You can create a share for your company page using REST API. You can access page analytics data using API as well.

Profile Database

LinkedIn User profile data is divided into multiple types of fields like Basic Profile, Location and Position fields. Additionally it would have full profile, contact info, company, publication, patent, language, skill, certification, course, education, volunteer and recommendation.

Mobile SDK Provides SSO(Single Sign-On) authentication, easy to make LinkedIn REST API calls, ‘Deep Linking’ and sample app for demo purpose. LinkedIn Mobile SDK is available for both Android and iOS.

Utpal Betai

Business Analyst & Project Manager, Training and Learning

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