Making APIs useable

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  • Shouldn't need to read docs (principle of least surprise)
  • Explorable API
  • Click on a link and see results
  • Realistic Data - facebook
  • Personalization of API results data - facebook
  • Easy oauth token generation (without the flow) - twitter
  • Interactive SDK - bing
  • Cut & Paste
  • Document all parameters
  • Have 1 easy thing - 1st thing
  • Always have a publci endpoint
  • API metrics based on my API key (e.g. Apigee)
  • Web page to API mapping tool - how to get this data via the API
  • Client libraries
  • examples & tutorials
  • Links to other people's libraries
  • This is a bug button - be able to submit a bug report from the web interactive api that includes request/response/etc
  • Show base string in detailed error messages
  • Atom's extensibility & indirection complicates things
  • Twurl and OAcurl style tools in client libraries
  • Samples
  • Social proof (e.g. Apple's mtv crib alike showcase of iphone millionaires)
  • Behave like an open source project (committers, lists, IRC, code, feedback)
  • Status pages, e.g. status.twitter.com
  • Use familiar terminology
  • Clear versioning policy
  • Use cases & personas for APIs
  • Optimize API for common patterns - batching and filtering


Exemplars


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