REST API Notes for 2016/03/22

Hello everyone! If there was anything that I learned from my recent paternity leave, it is that the impactful API news doesn't slow for anything. Events early this year have brought discussion of the API Economy, and its ramifications, to the fore.


At the beginning of this year, developers were shocked by Facebook's sudden announcement that they were shuttering Parse. This was quickly followed by Venmo's baffling closing-but-not-really-closed-API communication gaffs. In addition to that, my beloved Kimono Labs announced that they would no longer have a public offering.

People readily agree that RESTful APIs are essential to enabling business agility. However, what those recent "about-faces" demonstrate is that winning in the API economy takes more than a great interface and a hackathon budget. In a great piece, Ed Anuff, a senior vice president at Apigee, declares that "Almost everyone is doing the API economy wrong". I encourage anyone to read the post in its entirety because it is brimming with insights like:

"The closed-API model ends up missing the big opportunities because, unlike the “Biz Dev 2.0’’ approach of APIs, it relies on hand-crafted partnerships that inevitably try to pick winners and losers before a line of code has been written by quickly becoming about things like exclusivity and co-marketing. In many ways, not thinking through API monetization is even worse, because it doesn’t provide sustainable incentives and rewards to either the API provider, the developer or the user."

What is a company to do? Bill Doerrfeld, writing on, outlines not one, not two, but ten types of businesses that have emerged from the API economy. While any approach requires careful consideration for a given context, these ten patterns is a great place to start.


If you're less concerned with the business concerns and are just trying to get an API produced, you've spent time thinking about representing errors in responses. Pedro Félix has a great post on how to fail. If you want to go even further with what status code is correct in a given situation, check out the awesome status code wizard provided by Alex Meah.


I just added the "API Days - Nordic Edition" conference to this past week! If you have an event to add, please don't hesitate in dropping me a note!

Until next time,

Matthew (@libel_vox)

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