REST API Notes - 2017/12/19

Good grief. Where did 2017 go? This will be the last REST API Notes for this year. Hopefully we'll all have a well deserved couple weeks off and I'll publish a recap and future outlook piece early next January.

Two astute newsletter readers, Tim and David, both caught a typo that slipped in last week. I loved the piece from Alaina Kafkes about API Tutorials. However, when I linked to her deck, I accidentally truncated the hyperlink, turning 'tutorials' to 'tutorial'. I've included the correct link for Alaina's deck here: "Building Beginner Friendly API Tutorials". I appreciate people hanging in there over any confusion that I might have caused.



I'll start with Flavia Sequeira and her Nordic API presentation, 'API Doing verses API Thinking'. The post includes not only video from her presentation, but an expanded interview:

"When asked to expand on what she meant, Flavia explained that APIs are to be built from the customer’s perspective, to the customer’s needs, while web services are built from the organization’s perspective, offering what they perceive as important."

I couldn't agree more. 'Inside-out' thinking starts with existing data and functionality and exposes it as an API. Instead, Flavia urges an outside-in approach emphasizing the following questions:

  • How do our users want to engage with our services and what do they want to build?
  • How can we make it as easy as possible for them to do so?
  • How will that better help us understand and serve the needs of our customers?

This feature in Nordic APIs dovetails nicely with her recently published APICon 2017 talk, "API Design is not to be left to Techies".


The defacto, syntactical format for web-based APIs is JSON. Some places also provide XML. But have you ever considered why? Pat Helland, writing in a recent issue of ACM, uses an analogy of how XML and JSON are like cardboard.

"Semi-structured representations of data are not the cheapest format. There's typically a lot of extra stuff like angle brackets contained in it. JSON, XML, and other semi-structured representations allow for wonderful flexibility and dynamic interpretation. The efficiencies and savings gained from flexibility more than make up for the overhead."


Stefano Rocco recently published a detailed piece discussing the nuance of forward and backward contract compatibility. In a piece entitled Microservice Contracts he gets deep into concepts like evolutionary compatibility and defining forwards and backwards compatible. While microservices are the main focus, these same concepts apply to regular APIs.



Postman has launched the Postman API Network. The API development and test tool built the list of public APIs around its Postman Collection ability. Categories include communications, e-commerce, financial services, payment services, retail, social media, and travel. Postman gained popularity as a Chrome App; they've since moved to a standalone download due to Google ending support for Chrome Apps. Evolving to also include service discovery with simple integration was a surprise I didn't see coming. Is a marketplace, with monetization options for providers, the next step?


Auth0 has named co-founder Eugenio Pace as their new CEO. This follows several additions to its leadership team in October and a $30 million dollar funding round in June.


It has been another great year for Thank you for everyone who contributed an in-person conferences, meetups, and/or hackathons. It is the community which helps make this space the fun place that it is to work in. Has it has been awhile since you've popped in to your local gathering? How about making an early New Year's resolution to fix that? Some of you may not have something near you. How about starting something? Just, when you do, let me know so that I can share it. Either respond to this note directly or send me an email at ''.

Til next time,


@libel_vox and

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