What makes a good Web API?

Building a great API is a hard task. There are many pitfalls to avoid to succeed and since (hopefully) your API will be a dependency for many systems, you will want to try to hit it hard right from the start.

During QCon San Francisco 2011 Evan Cooke, co-founder of Twilio presents a great talk involving Web API's and how to make them awesome.

This makes a good API

In the talk Evan cites Joshua Bloch from Google who suggests that these points makes a great API:

  • Easy to learn
  • Easy to use - even without documentation
  • Hard to misuse
  • Easy to maintain the code that uses the API
  • Powerful enough to satisfy the requirements
  • Easy to extend
  • Appropriate to audience

Ps. Also check out the lecture I gave at Berghs School of Communication on API design and product development. Ds.