Pinterest for developers

09 December 2013
By Artem Markushev, Senior Webmaster

In the first part of this article we briefly discussed the functionality of Pinterest and its use for businesses. In this second part we will discuss its functionality for developers.

A couple of words about users

What we didn’t mention in the previous article but what is important is that Pinterest has apps for all popular platforms – Android, iOS, Windows Phone, etc., as well as extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari and even a toolbar button in Internet Explorer. All this makes Pinterest accessible to the maximum number of users.

And now, down to business.

Available features for developers

There is more on offer for developers than for businesses, however many of them intersect.

  • Pin It button – is an analogue of Facebook “Like” and “Share” buttons – two in one.
  • Rich pins – advanced templates for the most accurate and informative pins.
  • iOS Pin It SDK – Pin it button for iOS-applications.
  • Android Pin It SDK – the same for Android-based applications.
  • Widget builder – tool for creating HTML-code for “Pin It” buttons, adding friends, pictures from your profile, embedding a full profile or a separate “board”.
  • Rich pins validator – tool that checks the validity of your Rich Pin-template.

Not bad. However, Pinterest doesn’t have an API. There is a third-party development, but it doesn’t work so well yet.

Pin It Button

http://developers.pinterest.com/pin_it/

This is the de facto standard for social networks which focus on masses. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other social networks all have their “like” and “share” buttons. And the service we are talking about wasn’t bypassed – Installation of the button is simple, with tips and analysis for each action.

Rich Pins

http://developers.pinterest.com/rich_pins/

“Rich Pins” – are advanced templates for Pins that contain additional information. By the time this article was written, there were four templates: product, recipe, movie and article.

There are two ways of filling “Rich Pin” with information:

  • oEmbed – an option of getting the information as JSON while calling a single point of access on a website, if there is a guarantee that the information is always correct (to read more about the technology, visit oembed.com)
  • Semantic Markup – an option when it is not possible to set oEmbed, or if the site supports Schema.org or uses OpenGraph. The problem with this option is the lack of support for some of the objects on the page, i.e. Rich pin will only work with a unique individual product page.

The whole principle of work is very detailed, with explanations and examples, dismantled on the “Rich Pins” page.

iOS Pin It SDK

http://developers.pinterest.com/ios/

Turnkey solution for inserting the Pin It button to your iOS-app. Unfortunately, the SDK provides access to create “pins” only through the URL of the image, but the developers promise future support for local pictures. The button in the application will only work with an installed Pinterest application not less than v. 2.3. Installation will be automatically suggested.

Android Pin It SDK

http://developers.pinterest.com/android/

The SDK for Android has an advantage – you can “pin” pictures from the device directly, avoiding the specifying of URLs. As for the rest, the conditions are the same, you must install the Pinterest app (at least version 1.3) on the gadget, but, unlike the iOS SDK, in the absence of the application you will not receive a request for installation. But there is a feature for determining the presence of a functional application that allows hiding button if the app is not installed on the gadget.

Widget builder

http://business.pinterest.com/widget-builder/#do_pin_it_button

As you can see from the link, the widget-builder focuses primarily on manufacturers, not developers. So we have simplicity in usage in the presence of decent functionality. You can choose from several types of widgets:

Pin It Button

http://business.pinterest.com/widget-builder/#do_pin_it_button

A simplified version of the “Pin It” button but with extended capabilities. The only thing you have to do is to indicate the type of image (One Image / Any Image / Image Hover).

  • One Image
    You will also have to indicate the following for this type of image:

    • Meter position (above the button, next to it or do not show)
    • URL of the page this image will redirect to
    • URL of the image
    • And the signature for the “Pin”
  • Any Image
    This type takes a random image on your page, and adds it to the “Pin”. This type of button functions like a classic “bookmark”
  • Image Hover
    Adds the pop-up “Pin It” button to the image. This is the simplest type to install – just adding the script will be enough. But be careful – it will be strange to see a Pinterest share button next to a picture of web statistics, for example.
Follow Button

http://business.pinterest.com/widget-builder/#do_follow_me_button

A button to invite people to subscribe to your Pinterest profile. It has no custom properties, only your profile URL and the text on the button.

Pin Widget

http://business.pinterest.com/widget-builder/#do_embed_pin

The ability to insert a small piece of Pinterest on your website – one single “Pin”. With the right skill, you can display one random “Pin”, by just dynamically changing the link in the HTML-code. But there is a suspicion that Pinterest, like Twitter, has a limit on the number of requests.

Profile Widget

http://business.pinterest.com/widget-builder/#do_embed_user

The other side of the coin – insert up to 30 of the most recent entries from your profile. Available settings are a link to the profile, image width and height, and width of the widget.

Board Widget

http://business.pinterest.com/widget-builder/#do_embed_board

Same as “Profile Widget”, but for one particular “board”. Conveniently, you can insert someone’s board, not necessarily your own, with beautiful pictures and enjoy =)

Rich Pin Validator

http://developers.pinterest.com/rich_pins/validator/

Like Facebook validator it will give you a summary – what is good, what is bad, and what would be good to improve. You will not be able to enable Rich Pins on your website without utilizing this test.

In conclusion

Pinterest provides a good basic functionality for developers of mobile applications as well as websites. The only major drawback is the lack of an API, but hopefully this is a temporary phenomenon and the creators of the service will attend to its creation rather soon.

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