The APIs worth building on are the ones that no one can fuck with

On Hacker News the question of when should a platform vendor deprecate an API. Reminds me of a question a dentist once asked me. Which of your teeth should you floss? Only the ones you want to keep. (He answered his own question, witty fellow.)

So the answer for the platform vendor is really simple.

If you want to deprecate an API, maybe you shouldn’t be in the API business at all? Because when you deprecate, the developers will wonder, next time, when you will pull the rug out from under their work.

They will have to guess how much use the API will get. And how much is enough for you? How can they possibly gauge that? Maybe next year someone else will be in charge. Maybe they won’t like or understand the API. Maybe they don’t really tell us the reason they’re deprecating. Maybe use has nothing to do with it? Maybe they have a chance for some cred within your organization, and having their name on some “new” technology is a way to do that?

It’s a funny game. Really imho the only APIs you can trust are ones that no one owns, where there isn’t a single vendor implementing it. That was one of the reasons why I froze RSS in 2002. I wanted to build on it, and didn’t want to go back and have to continually re-implement the same functionality because some company or working group at the W3C wanted to rip up the pavement.