Online fashion giant Asos is opening up its product and basket services data to external web developers in a bid to extend its wider online presence by allowing others to build Asos-related services.

Asos will open its API (application programming interface) to the public next year, allowing external developers to build apps and platforms using the retailer’s detailed catalogue of products.

The API gives external parties access to the retailer’s full product database and allows them to build services using Asos’s own “add to basket” functionality.

Opening the API enables third- party websites to interact more easily with Asos’s own site and gives developers outside Asos the power to create apps that lead back into Asos and offer a brand experience outside of the main site.

The Asos public developer portal is now live, although is still being tested. The public developer portal features a gallery of previous projects, full documentation on using the API and a forum for developers to communicate with Asos.

Ecommerce director James Hart said he hoped that opening the API would help transform Asos into a fashion platform, becoming a “way to discover fashion online”.

Last week Asos held a “hackathon” during which it invited all its developers, in collaboration with teams from across the business, to develop something using the API. The winning idea – an integration which enables customers to see saved searches or favourite categories in RSS readers – will be fully developed and launched in January.

Asos is also working with external developers to launch a Chrome web app, called Asos Colour Canvas, which allows customers to search for products using a colour palette. This will also be launched in January.