Net API Notes for 2020/09/09 - Issue 141

For those outside of the US, I hope you had a pleasant weekend. For those inside the US, I hope you were able to get a few moments of peace between the pandemic, economic depression, wildfires, freak hurricane-force gales, social unrest, class inequity, back-to-school unease, and debilitating incompetence at on multiple levels.

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Then do it again. We'll get there. Don't know what that first step should be? If you haven't done so already, how about registering to vote? Each state is different, but the will direct you to the right spot. I went through the online process for Virginia. It was straightforward, at my own pace, and registering to get a mail-in ballot only took a few minutes. If you're in the US and you don't know where to start, start here.

Now, to the notes!



"A Pragmatic Guide to Launching an API Product", by Andrei Gridnev, is something we don't see enough of: actionable advice on taking an API to market.

What I mean is that Andrei shares numerous places a product or engineering lead can go to validate an idea before writing any code. He also mentions how to test hypotheses, smoke test documentation, and lists avenues of launch communication.

Perhaps controversially, he notes building a REST API, instead of a GraphQL API, as best practice. He cites a lower integration hurdle for less experienced developers. While I feel there may be reasons for choosing a pragmatic-REST style for an external API product, I'm not sure this is the leading one.

That said, it is still a wonderful buffet of things to consider for someone like me, who has spent the majority of their time on inter-company ecosystems.


Sam Newman is a technical communicator par excellence. The author of Building Microservices and Monolith to Microservices always has impactful, relevant things to share. His Kafka 2020 Summit Keynote, now available online, is no different.

One of the microservice challenges is data gets distributed everywhere. Providing access strictly through the interface design is a critical component of information hiding, a computer science principle that dates back to the 70s. However, what is useful for complexity management is a hurdle for reporting and regulation management; that nice, centralized, monolithic database is now fragmented into a gajillion different pieces, each with their levels of accuracy, access controls, oversight, etc.

With that context in mind, Sam points to a possible future where we can have our cake (microservices) and eat it too (centralized query-ability). This talk is both a great refresher on fundamentals as well as a peek at an exciting future.


The Increment is a print and online publication about how teams build and operate software systems at scale. It's August 2020 Edition was all about APIs. Contributors include Jeff Lawson, of Twilio fame, and Stripe's Michelle Bu. However, the piece that caught my attention was from Darius Kazemi, an artist and computer programmer. His piece, "The Land Before Modern APIs" is about the history of the HTTP status code and what it can tell us about future API design.

" When we’re trying to build the future, it’s extremely helpful to look to the past. At some point in my work on distributed social network software and protocols, I found it necessary to dig back to the very invention of the network, as well as its earliest protocols. In the course of this research, I’ve come to believe API design is the work most likely to have a lasting, wide-ranging influence on the future of technology."

His point is that a handful of people in a breakout session in 1972 had no idea that they'd be creating something, like '404', that lives throughout pop-culture. As Darius concludes:

"The work of building the future belongs as much to these small decisions about interoperability as it does to the biggest, flashiest software releases."


I didn't see any significant moves over the Labor Day weekend. If I did miss something newsworthy, let me know, and I'll drop it in the next newsletter.


I'll be dropping in on the API Specs Conference is this week, September 9th and 10th. Unlike other recent events, there is a fee to register, but it is only $39.

For other upcoming events, check out There's plenty of forthcoming learning opportunities in the latter part of this year. Further, nearly all of them are virtual. If you see something missing, let me know, and I would be glad to add it.

Finally, thank you to the Patreons who support this newsletter.

Till next time,

Matthew @libel_vox and

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