If you happen to look at a seismic re-assembly and change that is occurring in Payments, Brokerage, Banking and Telecom, the heart of what is enabling this change are “API’s”. API’s are having a dis-intermediating effect on these massive segments. They are dis-intermediating legacy frameworks and letting developers build awesome products like never before. They are enabling a total digitization of some of the most antiquated processes and user experiences.
I was looking through some old notes that I took in 2008 and wanted to share it with everybody. A lot of great new companies are developing and exposing great API’s. I wanted to share the notes and what I learnt over years of what makes a great API. Though these are not the only qualities that define a good API, I would think they would be very essential. In my experience, the following are some essential inspirations and foundations of a good API.
INTUITIVE: An intuitive API lets developers spend less time learning and more time actually getting things done. The API should be built in a way that a developer should not have to remember every complicated detail and his natural and logical intuition is generally accurate. You don’t have to spend a lot of time learning new parts of the API because it all works pretty similarly.
DOCUMENTATION: This is likely the most important “Must do it Right” goals when you build an API. Aim for your documentation to not be just “Adequate” but Exceptional. Ensure that documentation is structured and the developer has the methods, requests and responses along with working examples available in way that they are easy to use and navigate to.
DEVELOPER PERSPECTIVE: In addition to thinking about of functionality of your API, you should think about the different ways a developer is likely to use the API. Having this perspective will help you create an API that has viable adoption.
SECURE AND STABLE: Build your API to industry standards and applicable frameworks. It will help developers build sustainable business models. API Stability is really important. Developers realize that you want us to keep your API updated and healthy and will make changes continuously. Staying focused on simplicity of URL Schemes, versioning and change communication will help your API be associated with stability
SUPPORT: The best relationship with developers is timely response. Before launching your API, you should ensure that you have established a simple and solid support structure