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I read a post over at Cloud Ave today by Martijn Linssen, Why API’s suck, and what they lack.  I'll start by saying, everything he says about APIs, can be true for some APIs, but the post has more to do with the state of tech blogging, than anything to do with APIs.

To Linssen's points:

  • First of all, API’s aren’t open - True many APIs use this term, without it being true. But those of in the industry who get it, call these "public" APIs and have stopped using the term "open". Open has been used by a few bad marketing seeds, and perpetuated by the blogosphere.
  • Second of all, API’s are for free, mostly, and no uptime is guaranteed - What? Really? Maybe the 10 you've tried don't, but many of the APIs I depend on do. Just to name a few: Google MapsWebServiusDatasiftZencoderAmazon EC2, Amazon S3.
  • Third, API’s are badly documented, if any - Sure this can be a problem, and is something everyone is working on. This doesn't point to APIs sucking, more the documentation.  Can you point me to the documentation you’ve maintained? Its’ not as easy as it looks. And there are plenty of shining examples of how do you do it right.

Ok those are your points? And you went to ProgrammableWeb and looked at 10 APIs? And you came to the conclusion all APIs suck? I've spent hundreds of hours looking through ALL of the APIs in the ProgrammableWeb directory, and yes there is a lot of shit in there. But there are some really amazing examples of the API vision, that you seem to be bothered by. 

Have you hacked on Twilio? Twilio rocks! Have you used Stripe? Seen the forwarding thinking e-commerce APIs ElasticPath is working on? Have you hacked on any of the 97+ Google APIs lately? They have come a really long way in pulling together their interfaces, standardizing documentation, making legal easier to use, and standardizing what is free and what is billing.

Linssen seems caught up on the fact that all APIs are some sort of social bullshit. I counter with the fact that the last 5 years of Internet growth has been build on the back of Amazon Web Services, via APIs. When I started using both EC2 and S3, it was all APIs, there were no interfaces. I’ve deployed, scaled and supported global infrastructure with millions of dollars running through those APIs, personally.

My recommendation to Linssen is he spend more time hacking on APIs, and look at the playing field a little more before you professionally blog on the subject. But that brings me back to my title, and the fact that his blog post is about page views, and not about APIs, which represents the state of tech blogosphere and not APIs.

I just went over to Techmeme and look at the top 10 stories, and I decided that all tech bloggers suck and I'll stop reading tech blogs all together. Actually no..I'll keep doing what I do with all tech blogs, evaluate them one by one and unsubscribe when they stop offering value. Much like you should do with APIs.




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