In my latest post on the Mashery API Strategy Blog, I dive back into my extensive experience supporting a well-established API program and talk about what it takes to support it. It’s not enough to just put your API out there, attend a couple of hackathons and hope for the best – you need to foster strong relationships with developers. It’s not quick and it’s not easy, but it’s essential and absolutely worth it.
This week, InformationWeek did a special all about APIs. Joe Emison wrote a great, sweeping piece that does a pretty good job of giving you a high-level view of the entire API landscape. Very impressive feat.
And, yes… I’m a wee bit biased since he interviewed me for the article. But seriously, read it. It’s a good one.
Posted my latest entry to the API Strategy blog last week, in which I advocate approaching your internal architecture as a series of APIs rather than a monolithic system.
I’m certainly not the first to propose or recommend this idea. It has, in fact, been around for a while under the label “Service Oriented Architecture” or SOA. But SOA has traditionally relied on complicated protocols like SOAP or CORBA or technologies that lock you in to a given platform like COM or JMS. RESTful APIs are becoming the best solution for modularized systems, even within the same data center, as they allow for maximum flexibility with no vendor lock in. It does require additional work in the initial stages to get it running correctly, but tools like Apigility (for PHP) and restify (for node.js) allow you apply a RESTful facade in front of legacy systems until they can be rearchitected to serve a RESTful interface natively or replaced entirely.
Since REST is a completely open standard (though I use the term “standard” loosely here), you can rapidly onboard new developers and integrate with the latest and greatest technologies with ease. You can also more easily expose select parts of your infrastructure to partners and third party developers with very little additional work.
Precious few internal systems are built like this, and too many systems architects dismiss the idea of an API driven architecture out of hand without considering the benefits. Forward-thinking architects immediately see the benefits of combining highly modularized systems with RESTful API interfaces to deliver tremendous flexibility, systems reusability, increased rates of innovation and reduced onboarding time for new developers.
Inspired by this old Reddit thread, I wrote this last night on the plane to Denver:
Before each business flight, he would comfort her by whispering in her ear, “I’ll always come home.” So it came as no surprise when, after the crash, after the news crews left her lawn, after she finally had a moment to lie down in her bed to try and sleep, she felt the disembodied chill embrace her and whisper in her ear, “I’m home.”
In my latest post on the Mashery API Strategy blog, I explain why developer experience matters and why you should spend as much time, money and effort ensuring you have great API design and documentation as you do on your web site’s UI and UX design. I also make the somewhat controversial claim that, just because you built your application in an MVC framework like Ruby on Rails or Cake PHP, you don’t really have a good API. No matter what the designers of those frameworks say, you can not get a good API for free.
I welcome your shocked and awed reactions.
I gave a talk at Startup Weekend Asheville this year on one of my favorite topics – customer validation. The premise is that your idea sucks until you prove it otherwise. Take a look!
This happened a few weeks back, but I’ve been remiss to mention it here. After more than 20 years in the industry, I finally got a mention in TechCrunch. Sadly, it was for having a ginormous booger in my nose.
In truth, it was because of a cool app Neil Mansilla and I developed during the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon this year. Though we didn’t win, our idea and pitch for Hot Mess stood out enough from the crowd of about 270 other pitches to be worthy of writeup in TechCrunch. Frankly, that’s a win in my book.
You can see the video we produced for our pitch below.
I’m on a blogging tear – everywhere but on my own blog it seems. Regardless, this just got posted to the Mashery API Strategy blog (which you should really, really follow). One of the best parts of my job at Mashery is staying on top of the rapidly changing API landscape. In this blog post, I explain how I keep on top of API best practices and why.
My first blog post for the Mashery blog just went live, wherein I describe what a RESTful API is and why you should care, especially if you’re not the technical type. Go read it!