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APIs: A Strategy Guide by Dan Woods, Greg Brail, Daniel Jacobson

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Chapter 5. Key Design Principles for APIs

API design is an art in the early stages of its evolution. Nevertheless, enough experience has been amassed to develop a meaningful list of mistakes to avoid as well as some principles of success. In order to properly design your API, you’re going to need to consider most of the topics in this book. Your strategy influences the design. Your audience influences the design. The very business assets you plan to expose influence the design. And of course, the technological approach that you take influences the design. This chapter focuses on three areas:

  • Designing an API for different audiences

  • Providing an overview of technology considerations

  • Highlighting high-level design considerations

API strategy mainly focuses on creating one or more channels with your API in order to help you achieve your business goals. When people use an API, they’re not really thinking about the value of the API itself. They’re interested in the value of what they get through the API: the business assets (products and services) accessed through that API. In designing APIs, we attempt to provide business assets to developers so that they can create applications that deliver value to end users, who will then be able to provide some kind of value to complete the cycle of the API economy.

In general, the top APIs are carefully designed, easy to learn, logically structured, and internally consistent so that developers can guess how to bridge gaps in their understanding with ...

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