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Why Your API Sucks - #BAPI SF


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At Mashery's Business of API's Conference we shared data from our survey of developer pain to let API providers know where they could do better, and to sound a call to action for all the providers out there to start working together

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Why Your API Sucks - #BAPI SF

  1. 1. Why Your API Sucks Business of APIs Conference, SF, 10/4/2011 An API developer survey opens Pandora’s Box Seth Blank, Founder @AntiFreeze10/4/2011 1
  2. 2. We did a survey on API Pain It made some waves You can view it here: 2
  3. 3. “Facebook Wins ‘Worst API’ in Developer Survey”- TechCrunch “Developers relate a tale of woe with Facebooks API” - The Inquirer “Developer survey finds Facebook has the worst API” - ZD Net 10/4/2011 3
  4. 4. Booooring It’s no real secret that Facebook’s API is widely loathed10/4/2011 4
  5. 5. Developers Hate Your API “Every integration is its own [expletive-deleted] adventure.”10/4/2011 5
  6. 6. APIs don’t live in a vacuum10/4/2011 6
  7. 7. “different idiosyncrasies, ie rate limiting, terms of service, data format, old documentation etc.” “REST vs. XML-RPC vs. SOAP, JSON vs. XML vs. Random POST data. Every API seems to be different” “REST uses the HTTP spec, but few API providers actually follow the spec properly.”10/4/2011 7
  8. 8. “Guarantee me that any API yousupport will exist in its current form (bugs and all!) for at least 12months, and I will give you so much fucking money.”10/4/2011 8
  9. 9. “Guarantee me that any API you support will exist in its current form(bugs and all!) for at least 12 months, and I will give you so much fucking10/4/2011 9
  10. 10. Where else are you losing Developer’s $$$?!10/4/2011 10
  11. 11. Your Documentation Sucks“poor documentation” mentioned 41 times “lack of good examples + sandboxes” “Documentation and examples. Give me those, keep them up to date and I’m happy.” 10/4/2011 11
  12. 12. Your Error Handling and Test Environments Suck “error handling” a frequent complaint “Complete lack of test environments.” “The ones that you can’t test from a localhost suck”10/4/2011 12
  13. 13. We suck more together Inconsistent standards, libraries, and documentation “REST vs. XML-RPC vs. SOAP, JSON vs. XML vs. Random POST data. Every API seems to be different” “Change is good, but change when it breaks existing 3rd party API’s is a nightmare.”10/4/2011 13
  14. 14. We suck more together“Random 3rd party outages that take you out aswell” Error Codes differ between services. On bad Auth, Some 404, others 401. And some 500. This is hell on devs. “Different data formats from different services for essentially the same data.” 10/4/2011 14
  15. 15. And there’s so much other confusionAuthentication vs. Authorization Oh do developers hate OAuth (users, too!) Actually getting through to stakeholders (that’s YOU) Rate limiting and billing10/4/2011 15
  16. 16. “Paypal. Sweet god, fuck paypal.” “OMFG Salesforce “Digg is basically a giant API sucks. That is example of ‘this is how to not all” do it’.” “Affiliate + API — “Netsuite SOAPs almost no one does it documentation is, umm… right.” completely fucking incorrect” “We’re still working on “Too many to relate.” it.” 10/4/2011 16
  17. 17. So let’s solve this. Together.10/4/2011 17
  18. 18. More frequent and open communications We’re not in a vacuum!10/4/2011 18
  19. 19. Humbleness You might be awesome, but together we make a shitty team10/4/2011 19
  20. 20. Standards and best practices10/4/2011 20
  21. 21. Developer Bill of Rights What can they expect from ALL of us?10/4/2011 21
  22. 22. Hold our own accountable10/4/2011 22
  23. 23. Recap We’re not in this alone We need to start thinking like team players Cooperation amongst ourselves makes developers’ lives easier Which means better adoption, retention, and revenue We all get to win10/4/2011 23
  24. 24. Your Business is NOT your API. It is what that API provides access to. So fix your API and the ecosystem around it!10/4/2011 24
  25. 25. Thank you #BAPI! Seth Blank, Founder @AntiFreeze10/4/2011 25