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Underestimated and unexpected IT challenges of API initiatives

By Arnaud Lauret, March 2, 2022

As an IT member, you convinced your boss that APIs were a thing and IT department should take them seriously. Congratulations! That’s good, very good. Not only for you and your IT but for your whole organization. All you need to do now is choose an API gateway solution and you’re done… So you think. The API journey, even just at IT level, is full of pitfalls.

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Why do we need API design guidelines?

By Arnaud Lauret, February 23, 2022

Why do we need API design guidelines? Why do I need this boring set of constraining rules telling me how to design APIs? Why can’t I design APIs the way I like (which is the best one by the way). What would I (and my organization) gain taking advantage of API design guidelines?

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Hacking an Elgato Key Light Series - Part 1

Hacking and reviewing Elgato Key Light API with Postman

By Arnaud Lauret, February 16, 2022

Want to learn how to hack a desktop app calling an API and learn some API design principles? This post is made for you. When I got my Elgato Key Light, my first questions were: “can I control it without using the official control center using an API?” and “is the API easy to understand and use?”. Thanks to Postman’s proxy feature, I was able to easily hack the API. But I was also able to review it in the making, and there’s some interesting API design learnings to share.

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Choosing between raw and processed data when designing an API

By Arnaud Lauret, February 9, 2022

Look how trees are represented in Piet Mondrian’s paintings shown in this post’s banner. On the left they are represented in a figurative way, on the right totally abstracted. This is what we’ll discuss in this post, not figurative vs abstract painting, but raw vs processed data in API design. Choosing between raw or processed data, date of birth vs age for instance, has a direct impact on developer experience but also on provider’s.

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7 years being the API Handyman, the age of reason?

By Arnaud Lauret, February 2, 2022

This time, no “API blah blah blah”, this time, it’s personal. February 2022 marks a major landmark, I can’t believe I launched the API Handyman blog 7 years ago! Being 7 years old is supposed to mark the “age of reason”. Did I reached it? I think so, but it took me more than 7 years.

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What to consider when building an API sandbox

By Arnaud Lauret, January 26, 2022

Used through the “try it” feature of an API’s documentation or directly called by a consumer application, an API sandbox is a great way to let developers play with an API and learn how it works without giving them access to the actual production environment. But what is an “API sandbox” actually? Is it just a mock? It can be that … or far more than that. Let’s see what could be the features of an API sandbox.

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A few concerns to be aware of when adding try it feature to API documentation

By Arnaud Lauret, January 19, 2022

“That’s neat! The developer portal/api documentation solution we chose comes with a try it feature. Everything is out of the box, we’ll have absolutely nothing to do to allow people test our APIs.” … If only that was true. Unfortunately, there are a few concerns to be aware of to actually propose a try it feature.

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Nobody cares about API design guidelines

By Arnaud Lauret, January 12, 2022

“Did you read our API design guidelines? Yes we did! … Sorry, but I don’t think so”. Let’s be honest, besides those who write them, nobody cares about API design guidelines. Some don’t read them, some don’t agree with them. Should we punish the offenders? Though it is sometimes tempting, no. Should we get rid of API design guidelines? No, we can’t. But how can we make people care about it?

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API design and architecture lessons from a frying pan

By Arnaud Lauret, January 5, 2022

In the kitchen, I’m the dishwasher. And lately, washing our new frying pans has got me thinking about design and API architecture issues. This post is dedicated to the person who complained that my book contained too many analogies. Sorry, but no matter what I do, read, look at, listen to, I’m always trying to see if I can make connections to APIs. And housework is no exception.

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How to choose ids and codes to build user-friendly and interoperable APIs

By Arnaud Lauret, December 29, 2021

As an API designer, why should you care about the value of a productId, a countryCode, or an error code? Because wisely choosing the value of such (in a broad sense) “identifiers” greatly participates in the making of a user friendly API; but most importantly an interoperable one.

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