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January 14, 2009

If you're API and you know it clap your hands

There's a question doing the rounds in JISC circles at the moment, courtesy of the 'Good APIs’ project being led by UKOLN, which is essentially, "What makes a good API?":

The ‘Good APIs’ project aims to provide JISC and the sector with information and advice on best practice which should be adopted when developing and consuming APIs.

I have to confess that the question doesn't make a great deal of sense to me to be honest? Or at least, a good deal more contextual information is required before a sensible answer can be made - is HTTP considered to be an API in the context of this work for example?  If nothing else, the question tends to lean towards an SOA way of thinking IMHO.

A more fruitful line of inquiry might be, "What makes a good architectural approach?", in which case, it seems to me, REST might be a sensible answer.

Anyway... if you think you know what makes a good API, you can provide the answer on a postcard via the project's survey on SurveyMonkey.com.


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Hi Andy,

Thanks for adding a link to the survey.

A little clarification..

JISC are interested in views from developers on what characteristics of APIs make them 'good/useable' or 'bad'. This work is deliberately not directly concerned with architecture or development paradigms such as REST or SOA, nor is it restricted to the Web. As for HTTP, we would not consider HTTP to be an API as such: to use an example, del.icio.us provides an API which is accessible *via* HTTP.

More on the Good APIs blog: http://blogs.ukoln.ac.uk/good-apis-jisc/



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