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Ten Reasons Developers Hate Your API

Date post:23-Aug-2014
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APIs are everywhere today and can be a great building block of modern applications. But all too often APIs are not truly great. Rather than love your API, developers curse it. How can you avoid that fate? In this session we'll look at the most common mistakes API providers make and you can avoid making them too. Do you offer a bad developer experience (DX)? Poor, inconsistent API design? Unreliable services? This talk is a deep dive on not just what to avoid but what to do instead. And you'll leave knowing how to get developers to love your API, not hate it. 
Transcript:
  • 10ReasonsDevelopers HateYourAPI (andwhattodoaboutit) John Musser @johnmusser / API Science @apiscience GlueCon, 2014
  • (private beta)
  • Your documentation sucks REASON #1
  • ISSUES Static Unloved Nogettingstarted Inaccurate Unprofessional Incomplete Outofdate
  • Bigpicture https://www.twilio.com/docs! FIX #1
  • Clarity https://stripe.com/docs/api! FIX #2
  • Find-ability https://stripe.com/docs/! FIX #3
  • LiveDocsFIX #4 Interactivedocumentation, like...
  • Swagger https://github.com/wordnik/swagger-core!
  • I/ODocs https://github.com/mashery/iodocs!
  • RAML RESTful API Modeling Language! raml.org!
  • Yourcommunication skillsneedwork REASON #2
  • Youdontkeep yourdevelopers informed REASON #2B
  • ISSUES WheredoIgetsupportagain? Toomany/fewchannels Infrequentcommunication Youbrokemycodewithoutwarning
  • ChangeLog http://developer.github.com/changes/! FIX #1
  • Roadmap https://developers.facebook.com/roadmap/! FIX #2
  • ReleaseNotes http://techblog.constantcontact.com/api/release-updates! FIX #3
  • Blog http://aws.typepad.com/! FIX #4
  • Forum http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/soundcloud! FIX #5
  • EmailFIX #6
  • Youdont makeiteasy REASON #3
  • ISSUES HowdoIgetmykeys? Nogettingstartedguide NoSDKs/samplesinmylanguage Nothingtocopy&paste Nohelloworld
  • Whatdoyoudo? https://www.twilio.com/voice/api! FIX #1
  • Fastsignup https://manage.stripe.com/register! FIX #2 (so fast, you can even skip this step till youre convinced)
  • The1-2-3 http://developer.constantcontact.com/get-started.html! FIX #3
  • Quickstarts https://www.twilio.com/docs/quickstart! FIX #4
  • Free&Trial https://parse.com/plans! FIX #5
  • CopiousSDKsFIX #6
  • UseGitHub https://github.com/OneNoteDev! FIX #7
  • Lawyers REASON #4
  • ISSUES Commercialrestrictions Notsetupforwin-win NoSLA Ratelimit/throttlingissues Itsallaboutyou
  • BeclearFIX #1 http://500px.com/terms!
  • SetthetoneFIX #2 https://www.etsy.com/developers/terms-of-use!
  • Shorter=BetterFIX #3 http://googledevelopers.blogspot.com! Beginning today, most of our APIs use a single Terms of Service. We have rewri%en these terms from the ground up with the goals of making them concise and easier to understand. . In this rewrite, we have removed over 125,000 words from the combined previous terms
  • Page 23
  • ThinklongtermFIX #4 https://developers.google.com/youtube/terms!
  • Sharethewealth http://slideshare.net/jmusser! FIX #5
  • YourAPIis unreliable REASON #5
  • YourAPIis slow,buggyand unreliable REASON #5
  • ISSUES Bugs Unannouncedchanges Performanceissues APIoutages Inconsistency
  • Change (planned) BugOutage APIs can break Rate limit ToS violation Change (undocumented) Provider biz change Network
  • Breaking bad
  • Dont let this happen to you GET http://api.yourcompany.com/resource/142! !
  • Or this GET http://api.yourcompany.com/resource/142! !
  • StatusPage http://status.aws.amazon.com/! FIX #1
  • MonitorFIX #2 http://www.apiscience.com!
  • Donthide http://blog.akismet.com! FIX #3
  • Youdontgiveme thetoolstohelp mesucceed REASON #6
  • ISSUES Testconsole? OAuth,ouch HowdoIdebug? Whatsmyusage?Spend?
  • DevDashboard https://manage.stripe.com/test/dashboard! FIX #1
  • Debug/Log www.twilio.com/user/account/developer-tools/app-monitor! FIX #2
  • TestSandbox https://www.twilio.com/user/account! FIX #3
  • Playground https://developers.google.com/oauthplayground! FIX #4
  • TestConsole https://apigee.com/providers! FIX #5
  • Youremarketing tome, nothelpingme REASON #7
  • ISSUES Youdontlisten Code,notwhitepapers Developershatemarketing Self-service,notcallus
  • Evangelists http://sendgrid.com/developers! FIX #1
  • EventsFIX #2 https://www.twilio.com/conference!
  • HackathonsFIX #3
  • YourAPIistoo complex REASON #8
  • Youhaveyourown customs (auth,protocol,formats) REASON #8B
  • ISSUES Terse,crypticerrormessages NoJSONsupport YourRESTAPIdoesntuseHTTPrules YoustilluseSOAP
  • UseRESTFIX #1 API protocols and styles Based on directory of 5,100 web APIs listed at ProgrammableWeb, February 2012
  • UseJSONFIX #2 Percentage of APIs supporting JSON vs XML Based on directory 11,000 web APIs listed at ProgrammableWeb, Dec 2013
  • XML vs. JSON in new APIs Based on new APIs listed at ProgrammableWeb in 2013
  • BepragmaticFIX #3 http://apigee.com/about/content/web-api-design! Web API Design, Brian Mulloy
  • YourTTFHW istoolong REASON #9
  • Whats your TTFHW? Time To First Hello World aka: how long from zero to 60?
  • GreatDXFIX #1 http://developerexperience.org!
  • FIX #2 Allprior fixes inthistalk:-)
  • Youhavent learned REASON #10
  • Youhavent learned (fromthebest) REASON #10
  • UserolemodelsFIX #1 Twilio,Stripe,Github, SendGrid
  • KeeplearningFIX #2 apidays.io apistrategyconference.com www.gluecon.com apicon.programmableweb.com iloveapis2013.com apiconference.com
  • FIX #3 Remember: An API is a journey, not a destination
  • Thank You QuesMons, ideas, comments? [email protected] @johnmusser
  • Photo credits Race car: hQp://www.ickr.com/photos/lim_lik_wei/3270522646/ Winding road: hQp://www.ickr.com/photos/maQhewthecoolguy/7518274258/
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