Developers finally have a Pinterest API of note—though the social network is inching open its doors rather than swinging them wide. Today the firm launched a beta Pinterest Developers Platform, described as “a suite of APIs for developers to build apps and integrations that bring pins to life.”

The API, or application programming interface, lets coders build all kinds of apps on top of Pinterest’s data. (See our API explainer.) The official examples include an app that orders ingredients from a recipe “pin”—pins being the visual bookmarks that serve as Pinterest’s analogue to Facebook updates and Twitter tweets—and one that arranges bookings based on a travel pin.

For now the program is only open to developers in the U.S., and they have to go through an application process first. The beta API allows developers to access an authorized user’s pins, boards and followers, as well as boards, users and interests the user is following.

Board access extends to reading a board’s pins and creating, updating and deleting an authorized user’s boards. In addition developers can get details of specific Pins as well as create, update and delete them.

TechCrunch reports that users will get full control over which apps are authorized, with the ability to revoke credentials at any time, and Pinterest won’t tolerate shady practices. The social network began work on an API in September, TechCrunch says.

A Different Kind Of Network

The thought of getting busy with Pinterest integration is sure to leave developers drooling. Unlike larger social networks, it promotes a much more positive, aspirational outlook on life. Weddings, food, architecture, travel, design, fashion … these are the areas where Pinterest excels.

What Pinterest lacks in user numbers—estimates suggest roughly 47 million people access Pinterest accounts at least once a month, way less than Facebook’s 1.4 billion and Twitter’s 302 million—it makes up in being much more product-focused.

Pinterest stands to benefit too. More ways to utilize the underlying platform means more reason for users to sign up and stick around. Maybe you’ll take more care over your dream holidays board if there’s an app that can help you make a booking off the back of it.

With Amazon muscling in on Pinterest territory and Google+ rumored to be heading in a Pinterest-esque direction very soon, developer involvement could be crucial for Pinterest’s growth.

This isn’t Pinterest’s first API, but it is the first that’s really of use to developers in both its scope and its functionality. Be warned, though: Pinterest says only a few hundred developers are going to be allowed through the gates while it scales up the technology behind the new tools.

Lead image by Madeleine Weiss for ReadWrite