Net API Notes for 2021/05/19 - Issue 162

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I was more than a thousand words into my analysis on Spotify Open Access Platform, the difference between "free" and "open", and the importance of OAuth to it all before I finally admitted it wasn't working. When it comes to an actionable discussion of API platforms, I've had several false starts over the past several years.

I still need to figure out the compelling way to breach that topic and be more than academic twaddle. Until then, however, here are some valuable pieces of interest.



I recently put together some future-forward analysis for the API space. It wasn't until I was done that I stumbled across Cloud Elements' 2021 State of API Integration Report. Despite being prepared independently, we came to very similar conclusions on the impact of the pandemic on API development:

"-the pandemic has thrust API integration to the fore in terms of high-priority projects and increased budget allocation."

That makes sense. During a time of unprecedented uncertainty, architectural patterns that maximized flexibility were essential. Having proved their worth, recovering businesses will look to make additional investments in areas the demonstrated their resilience.

In addition, numerous common trends from the last decade remain top-of-mind for decision-makers:

  • API-first design patterns and standards (like OpenAPI) for software and technical architectures
  • The continued maturation of tooling to support API integrations
  • The rise of cloud infrastructure and SaaS applications
  • The success of platform business models

Interestingly, people responding to the CloudElements survey expressed a desire for greater consistency. When asked, respondents overwhelmingly said they want more standards (95% 'for’ vs 5% 'against’) to cut down on time spent on data mapping and transformation. This is a trend that has been growing each of the previous five years.


There are few things better than a well-written, soup-to-nuts retrospective. To the fine tradition of powerful examples comes Philip Bjorge's Lessons Learned With the Routable API. The piece reads like highlights from the past half-decade of Net API Notes.

For example, at first, Routable attempted to expose their internal data model directly to external consumers. However,

"-our data model is not an API and this approach isn’t scaling with us as we, or our developer partners, grow"

"For new hires at Routable, learning our data model is a requirement. For new API customers, learning our data model is an imposition."

Then there was the attempt to create OpenAPI documentation from a code-first, annotation approach. After careful consideration, teams changed to design-first. (For more on the problems that can occur when following a code-first paradigm, check out the API Handyman's detailed list of how things might go awry.

In the end, it was the embrace of constraints that created better designs for future integrations:

"Working within the constraints of OpenAPI tends to drive an API towards simple rather than complex."


It has been fantastic to see the rise of asynchronous API options. While there will always be a place for synchronous communication, async architectures open up an exciting new set of possibilities for developers.

Scott Gerring compares and contrasts many of these approaches in his piece, "Managing Asynchronous Workflows With A REST API". Scott covers popular strategies like polling, webhooks, and WebSockets.

While the cloud component is entirely AWS-based, having a standard set of icons does allow for an easier diagramming of the various methods.

If you can't get enough async patterns, also be sure to check out the eBay developer site. There, Shekhar Banerjee has a piece on how they use AsyncAPI and asynchronous architectures to solve their use cases.



Madrid's APIAddicts put together an impressive online series this June. I've captured that, along with numerous other API events, at If you know of an upcoming API event, whether online or in person, let me know, and I'd be glad to add it to the list.

I also want to say thanks to my Patreons. These upstanding folks keep the newsletter free of advertising, information selling, or paywalls. Because of their generosity, the rest of the community can keep getting these notes for free.

Till next time, Matthew

@libel_vox and

While I work at Postman, the company with the lovingly rendered spacemen, the opinions presented above are mine.

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