Your Secret Sauce Does Not Include Restricting Access To Your APIs
05 Jan 2015
Your company's secret sauce doesn't involve keeping your APIs closed and proprietary—it is about making them as open and accessible as possible, to the point where even your competition can’t help but uses them.
I’m am always amazed at the amount of effort some companies put into hiding their API interface away, making me register before I can see anything, and dig through the SDK to even understand an APIs surface area.
If you have a public API, or a publicly available mobile app, you have a public API—put it out there. Be loud and proud of your API designs (if you aren’t, then we should have another discussion), make them front and center, within two clicks of your developer landing page.
If you are worried about someone copying your interface, and re-using it in their own API designs, you are in the wrong business. In the API space, this is good. Think AWS EC2 and S3. Everyone under the sun has copied their interface, even their competition, and what has happened? Oh, they are the dominant player in an entirely new way of doing business--using APIs.
If you think your API surface area, aka the naming, description, and order of your API endpoints, parameters, and data models, is your secret sauce, you are wrong. It is how you deliver within that framework, and the services, support, and other building blocks you provide in support of the interface.
Please stop hiding your APIs, put them out there where everyone can find them.