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What Makes aGreat Open API?  John	  Musser,	  ProgrammableWeb	               @johnmusser	                OSCON	  2012	    ...
yea  rs	  7	                  Is	        ,000 	  AP                 tor ies	   6               	  new      s	  s   3   ,000
Why does having  a great API    matter?
API growth rateBased on directory of 6,000 web APIs listed at ProgrammableWeb, May 2012
3	  Months	                                                                           4	  Months	                         ...
API Billionaires Club  13 billion API calls / day (May 2011)  5 billion API calls / day     (April 2010)  5 billion API ca...
Apps & devices everywhere
5 Keys to a Great API       Valuable       Planned       Flexible       Managed      Supported
5 Keys to a Great APIA valuable service (data, function, audience, )                                             …  A plan...
Each “key” has      two sides:business & technology   (each supports the other)
Each “key” has      two sides:business & technology       (today’s talk)
ET #1      I SECRA   P       These are really,       really hard to do             right
5 Keys to a Great API       Valuable       Planned       Flexible       Managed      Supported
Valuable Service
Valuable Data
Valuable Audience
Valuable Function
Valuable Marketplace
Valuable Access
ET #2      I SECRA   PA very valuable service hides many API sins
the API Value Corollary        The API value corollary               A great API on a bad service               is lipstic...
5 Keys to a Great API       Valuable       Planned       Flexible       Managed      Supported
5 Keys to a Great API       Valuable  Planned (designed)       Flexible       Managed      Supported
Your first two design questions  What is the goal of this API?           (purpose)   Who will be using this API?          ...
You’ll make many design choicesWhat protocol(s) will I support?                       What data format(s) to provide?     ...
What’s the price of IBM?POST	  /GetStock	  HTTP/1.1	                      GET	  h@p://example.org/stock/IBM	  Host:	  www....
SOAP                                             RESTPOST	  /GetStock	  HTTP/1.1	                      GET	  h@p://example...
API protocols and stylesBased on directory of 5,100 web APIs listed at ProgrammableWeb, February 2012
ET #3      I SECRA   P  A great API doesn’t        just ask“am I RESTful enough? ”
Daniel Jacobson, Netflix Engineering Blog, July 9, 2012
Daniel Jacobson, Netflix Engineering Blog, July 9, 2012
another moral of that story is…            A great API          understands its             audience
Your audience may <3 SOAP, really  50+ finance APIs, 5 billion+ calls/month
Data format? It depends…     XML, JSON, RSS, Atom, YAML, iCalendar, CSV, Serialized PHP, HTML, PNG, GeoRSS, vCard, Text, R...
What’s the price of IBM?{	                                       <?xml	  version="1.0"?>	  	  	  	  	  "symbol":	  ”IBM",	...
JSON                                             XML{	                                       <?xml	  version="1.0"?>	  	  ...
Percentage of REST APIs supporting JSON      Based on directory of 5,800 web APIs listed at ProgrammableWeb, May 2012
Want to discuss API design?       Check out API Craft  http://groups.google.com/group/api-craft
5 Keys to a Great API           Valuable           Planned   (simple) Flexible (easily adopted)          Managed         S...
API simplicity continuumSimple                               Complex  “As simple as possible, but no simpler”
What makes an API flexible?             Provides choices        data format, protocol, version         Gives developer con...
What’s your TTFHW?    Time To First “Hello World”    aka: how long from zero to 60?
6 ways to accelerate TTFHW
#1) Make it clear what you do
#2) Offer “Free” or “Trial” API access
(or, even both free & trial)
#3) Fast, automated signup             (so fast, you can even skip this             step till you’re convinced…)
#4) Clear, accurate documentation
#5) Copious code samples
Stripe’s dashboard                                     #6) Provide tools                                              Goog...
5 Keys to a Great API       Valuable       Planned       Flexible       Managed (and measured)      Supported
What to manage & measure?  Manage           Measure  Security         Performance  Key management   Developers and apps  M...
API versioning in RESTWhere	                        What	               Who	            Example	  Path	  segment	         ...
ET #4      I SECRA   PIt matters less how you   version than you do         version
API security baselineToday:SSL as optionOAuth 2.0 (one of the few API standards with traction)Future:SSL required (many ma...
Great APIs get measured       Great APIs get measured
Metrics that matter Traffic            Developers          Service                     Total developers    Performance  To...
ET #5      I SECRA   P    Great APIs prioritize     what they want to          measure
“The absence oflimitations is the  enemy of art”             Orson Welles
5 Keys to a Great API       Valuable       Planned       Flexible      Managed      Supported
What makes an API supported?      Great developer experience (DX)  signup, guides, reference, SDKs, pricing, clear ToS    ...
What makes an API supported?    Great developer experience (DX)              	          A   nd reference, SDKs, pricing, l...
developerexperience.org                see alsodeveloper-support-handbook.appspot.com
ET #6      I SECRA   P     Great DX separates     the best APIs from          the rest
Covering your DX checklist
Does API design impact support?         Let me count the ways… For example, look at Twilio’s error response
Community: a core tenet of greatopen APIs and open source
5 Keys to a Great API       Valuable e	                e	  m or A nd     on      	  Planned    ing     …	            Flexi...
Top 10 API worst practices  10. Poor error handing  9. REST APIs that ignore HTTP rules  8. Exposing your raw underlying d...
#7    P I SECR   ET     A great APIA                     is a journey,                   not a destination
Thank You QuesRons,	  ideas,	  comments?john@programmableweb.com	         @johnmusser	                   	  
Photo	  credits	  Pig:	  h@p://www.flickr.com/photos/babasteve/7341687640/	  Race	  car:	  h@p://www.flickr.com/photos/lim_l...
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You’ll make many design choicesWhat What Makes a Great Open API?

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You’ll make many design choicesWhat protocol(s) will I support? What data format(s) to provide? How will I manage security? Should I use an open source framework?Which design patterns to use? Hmm, are there any? Oh, right, I need to do versioning too…

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