What API Means To Me
I love the wide swinging perception people have of who I am, often based upon a 15 seconds of sizing me up, reading the title, first and ending paragraph of a blog post, and often seeing this photo. I'm also humbled by the people who tell me the stories of who they thought I was, before they got to know me, and how that dramatically shifted once they met me. People think I'm all sorts of crazy things, without ever actually having a conversation with me.
To help clear the smoke, I figured I'd hlelp answer a few of the common perceptions people throw at me, that in my head I feel people should know, but regularly I am reminded that based upon my site name, branding, etc, people have no clue:
- APIs Are Good - No, no, sorry they aren't by default. People do a lot of really stupid, fucked up shit with APIs. I'm not blindly cheering on the API masses--sorry. ;-(
- Its About REST You Idiot! - No, no, really don't give a shit if its RESTish, RESTful, REST, or RESTafarian. I do think you should follow sensible, common patterns, something that is rapidly evolving beyond just REST.
- I Am Master API Designer - No, no, sorry. I'm making this shit up as I go along, and learning just like the rest of you. Polishing my skills a little more with each iteration.
- I Like All The Attention - No, no, actually I don't. I like to read, write, and code, and about 1/3 of the time I like interacting with everyone else. During that time I thrive on conversations with people about what they are facing.
- Public APIs Are Where It Is At - I think you should be as transparent, and as publicly available as possible--it just is good for operations, but not everything needs to be publicly available for anyone to consume (that is dumb).
I know the people who need these answers the most won't read this blog post -- that is ok. It helps me out to just put the thoughts out there, because once I publish my thoughts, they seem to become more real, or maybe its just me.
In the end, I'm not the API Evangelist because I think APIs are the answer to the worlds problems, but I do think in this insane, online world we are creating for ourselves, we need transparency in how all the Internet tubes work, and APIs + oAuth is the best answer we have currently.
To me, APIs are not the REST dogma many of my critics immediately point to, it about the access, control, and transparency of our vital personal, business, and public resources--whatever our intentions are with those. Ultimately I do not think my vision of APis will win out, but in this early stages of the evolution of the Internet, I'm pushing back to make sure as much of it is as open as possible--this is what API means to me.