Best Practices for Planning, Designing, and Managing APIs

July 19 2017

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The size of the API economy is at an all-time high, with ProgrammableWeb reporting that there are over 17,000 APIs available on the web. The increasing demand for APIs has created a need to apply key API best practices.

The Four Secrets of a Great API

April 19 2016

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Not all APIs are created equal – some are better than others. In fact, says ProgrammableWeb’s Adam DuVander, the not not-so-secret truth about APIs is that “creating a great one is really, really hard.”

API Best Practices: The Wrap Up (Part 7)

February 20 2015

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This is part seven of the API design best practices series. Read part one of the series. 

Looking Back

Unfortunately, this series of API Best Practices has come to a close. Over the last several months we’ve taken a look at how to design a flexible, extensible, and usable API. These steps included:

API Best Practices: API Management (Part 6)

February 5 2015

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This is part five of the API design best practices series.  

API Best Practices: Response Handling (Part 5)

January 30 2015

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This is part five of the API design best practices series.  

Provide Helpful Responses

Building a solid foundation to ensure the scalability and longevity of your API is crucial, but just as crucial is ensuring that developers can understand your API, and trust it to respond with the appropriate header codes and error messages.

API Best Practices: Hypermedia (4.3)

January 15 2015

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This is part four, sub-series 3, of the API design best practices series. Jump to sub-series 1 of the hypermedia sub-series.

A Road Trip

First off, let me apologize for the delay in this third part of the hypermedia sub-series. Christmas meant a warm trip back to Minnesota, a road trip through the Texas panhandle, and numerous snow storms in between — until finally I had the chance to cut through the mountainous desert of Southern California on my way back to beautiful San Francisco.

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Now I understand some of you are probably wondering what any of that has to do with this post, other than it’s about 3 weeks after promised. One of the greatest challenges of the drive was battling my way through the snow and construction, and just hoping that the interstate would stay open (they literally close the interstates if it’s bad enough). But the one thing I could be sure of was that at every turn, between my steady GPS and road signs, I knew where I was going, and I knew when my path was being detoured or I couldn’t take a certain road… I knew this, because everything was nice and uniform.

API Best Practices: Hypermedia (Part 4.2)

December 18 2014

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This is part four, sub-series 2, of the API design best practices series. Jump to sub-series 1 of the hypermedia sub-series.

The Harsh Reality of the State of Hypermedia Specs

Hypermedia sounds great in theory, but theory only goes so far. Where hypermedia really shines, or completely fails, is in implementation. Unfortunately, as hypermedia is still a relatively new aspect of web based APIs, there isn’t one specified way of doing things. In fact, you’ll find that even some of the most popular APIs operate completely differently from each other.

API Best Practices: Hypermedia (Part 4.1)

December 11 2014

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This is part four, sub-series 1, of the API design best practices series.

What is Hypermedia

One of the challenges to implementing and correctly using hypermedia in your REST API is first understanding what hypermedia is, and what it means to use hypermedia as the engine of application state (HATEOAS).

API Best Practices: Nouns, CRUD, and More (Part 3)

December 4 2014

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This is part three of the API design best practices series.

Once you have an understanding of what your API needs to be able to do in order to meet your developer’s requirements, it’s important to ensure that it remains as flexible and extendable as possible.  Taking advantage of best practices not only means that your API will be familiar to developers, but also ensure that it remains fluid enough to extend and build on top of it in the future.  Here are this week’s best practices to help keep your API agile:

API Best Practices: Spec Driven Development (Part 2)

November 20 2014

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This is part two of the API design best practices series.

Define Your API in a Flexible, but Standard Spec

I cannot stress the importance of spec driven development enough.  One of the quickest ways to kill your API is to define the API in your code, instead of coding to its definition.  By utilizing an API modeling spec such as RAML you can quickly build out your API in a consistent manner using code and pattern reuse.