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Your API Sucks

  Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Marsh Gardiner of Apigee recently gave a talk at Cloudstock 2010 in San Francisco entitled, “Your API Sucks: Why developers hang up and how to stop that”. While this talk is focused on the currently hot topic of Web-based APIs, Gardiner talks about a lot of general API design techniques. In particular, he urges API developers to focus on user experience and to remember that your API is a product and your developers are your customers. He states this involves putting yourself in your users shoes and giving them the information they need to succeed. Check out the 30-min audio recording of the talk and slideset at:

Open APIs: State of the Market

  Friday, December 24th, 2010

John Musser gave a presentation at Cloudstock during Dec 2010 about the state of open APIs for the Web. He starts with the big picture, covering why you may want to create an API and the surge in new Web-based APIs that have appeared over the past few years. He then goes into the business of APIs, looking at various business models and scalability needs of successful APIs. The focus then turns to design and technology issues, such as protocols, data formats, styles, and authentication.

How Google Builds APIs

  Saturday, December 18th, 2010

This presentation at Google I/O 2010 by Zach Maier, Mark Stahl, Joseph Schorr, and Yaniv Inbar describes the Web API development process at Google. The talk covers some of the lessons learned about supporting REST partial updates, output formats, and calling styles. It also introduces the new API stack infrastructure being developed at Google. This stack lets Google engineers create a new API in a few minutes using a simple configuration file and web app, where the infrastructure provides authentication, caching, logging, and throttling for free. Very cool stuff.

RESTful API Design

  Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Brian Mulloy recently gave a presentation about Web API design at Saleforce’s Cloudstock event in San Francisco. He has provided a video of his talk that is well worth checking out if you’re interested in RESTful API development for web services.

Brian starts off with a poor unstructured Web API and evolves this toward a better design. He suggests that you should avoid verbs in your URLs and that you only need 2 base URLs per collection: one to access the collection and one to access a specific element. He follows the advice in the Wikipedia article on RESTful design that POST queries are used for creation, GET for reading, PUT for updating, and DELETE to remove. He also covers topics such as good ways to support pagination of results, specifying the response format, and versioning of your web service. This is a great overview of good Web API design, and it’s only 16 minutes long. Check it out:

Aphorisms of API Design

  Monday, December 6th, 2010

Larry Garfield will present a talk called “Aphorisms of API Design” at the Dupalcon conference in Chicago, Mar 7-10 2011. Here is the description of the talk:

Code that talks only to itself is not useful to anyone. Code that enables other code magnifies its power 10-fold.

But how do we enable other code, and those who write it? What makes a module extensible? What is that vague extra something that turns merely extensible code into an API, a library, and a cornerstone of other systems? How do we harness that power for ourselves?

Let us examine the Aphorisms of Good API design, and the 8-Fold Path of API Nirvana.

This session goes beyond how to write modules well to cover the question of how to write modules that spawn other modules and innovation by Coding for the Future.

Intended audience:
Module developers who want to write not just good code but code other developers will want to use. Site builders and evaluators who want to know how to tell if a module is “doing it the right way”. Site Architects who want to know what modules are likely to be extensible in the future rather than evolutionary dead ends.

See: http://chicago2011.drupal.org/sessions/aphorisms-api-design

Top 10 API Pitfalls

  Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Rick Nucci wrote this article exposing 10 of the most common API pitfalls that he has encountered in Web services code (also known as Software as a Service, or Saas). His list includes problems such as exposing operations instead of objects, constantly changing the API on your users, not thinking about performance issues such as throttling services, and getting caught without a strategy for your API.

Web API Documentation

  Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Peter Gruenbaum wrote a great article on best practices for producing documentation for Web-based APIs. He notes the importance of auto-generating API documentation, including sample code, showing example requests and responses, and explaining authentication and error handling.

API Design for the Web

  Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The 3scale team have put together some tips and examples on API design. Their blog post is specifically focused at cloud computing, including applying the standard MVC pattern to cloud services and API anti-patterns in REST applications.


An Application Programming Interface (API) provides a logical interface to a piece of software and hides its internal details. This website is dedicated to a book on designing APIs for C++ and includes articles and links on API development.


The book is accompanied by a source code package that contains many of the examples in the text. Download it for free.


Dr. Reddy has also published a computer graphics book called Level of Detail for 3D Graphics. Check it out too!.
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