First Handful Of Lessons Using My Google Sheet Github Approach
24 Jul 2017
With my recent shift to using Google Sheets as my data backend for my research, and my continued usage of Github as my data project publishing platform, I started pushing out some new API related lessons. I wanted to begin formalizing my schema and process for this new approach to delivering lessons with some simple topics, so I got to work taking my 101, and history of APIs work, and converting them into a multi-step lesson.
Some of my initial 101 API lessons are:
- API 101 (Website) (Github Repo) (Google Sheet) - Just a general overview of what is API, targeting average user.
- API Provider 101 (Website) (Github Repo) (Google Sheet) - Working to evolve an opening pitch to would be API providers.
- API Consumer 101 (Website) (Github Repo) (Google Sheet) - Working to get better at providing information for API consumers.
- The History of APIs (Website) (Github Repo) (Google Sheet) - Continuing to expand on my history of APIs story.
I will keep working those 101 lessons. Editing, polishing, expanding, and as I found out with this revision–removing some elements of APIs that are fading away. While my 101 stories are always working to reach as wide as possible, my wider research is always based in two sides of the API coin, with information about providing APis, while also keep my API consumer hat on, and thinking about the needs of developers and integrators.
Now that I have the 101 lessons under way I wanted to focus on my API life cycle research, and work on creating a set of high level lessons for each of the 80+ stops I track on along a modern API life cycle. So I got to work on the lesson for API definitions, which I think is the most important stop along any API life cycle–one that actually crosses with every other line.
- Definitions (Website) (Github Repo) (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/13WXRAA30QMzKXRu-dH8gr-UrAQlLLDAD9pBAmwUPIS4/edit#gid=0)
After kicking off a lesson for my API life cycle that speaks to API providers, I wanted to shift gears at look at things from the API consumer side of things, and kick off a lesson for what I consider to be one of the more important APIs today–Twitter.
Like my life cycle research I will continue creating lessons for each area of my API Stack research, where I am studying the approaches of specific API platforms, and the industries they are serving. Next I will be doing Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and other APIs that are having a significant impact on our world. I’m looking to create lessons for all the top APIs that have a big brand recognition, and leverage them to help onboard a new wave of API curious folks.
My API industry research all lives as separate data driven Github repositories, using Google Sheets as the central data store. I edit all the stories published across these sites using Prose.io, but the data behind all my research live in a series of spreadsheets. This model has been extended to my API lessons, and I’ll be shifting my storytelling to leverage more of a structured approach in the future. To help onboard folks with the concept I’ve also created a lesson, about how you create data-driven projects like this:
- Google Sheets To Github Website (Website) (Github Repo) (Google Sheet) - Walking through how you can use Google Sheets, and a Github Pages site to manage data driven websites.
All of these lessons are works in progress. It is why they run on Github, so that I can incrementally evolve them. An essential part of this is getting feedback from folks on what they’d like to learn. I’m happy to open up and collaborate around any of these lessons using Google Sheets or Github–you just let me know which one is more your jam. I am collaborating with my partner in crime Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) using this format, and I’m finding it to be a great way to not just manage my world, but also create and manage new worlds with other people.
While each of the lessons use the same schema, structure, and process, I’m reserving the right to publish the lessons in different ways, experimenting with different variations in the layout. You’ll notice the Twitter and Google Sheets to Github Website lessons have a Github issues associated with each step, as I’m looking to stimulate conversations about what makes good (or bad) curriculum when it comes to learning about APIs and the platforms I’m building on. When it comes to my API lifecycle and stack work I am a little more opinionated and not looking for as much feedback at such a granular level, but because each lesson does living on Github, folks are still welcome to edit, and share their thoughts.
I have hundreds of lessons that I want to develop. The backlog is overwhelming. Now that I have the schema, base process, and first few stories published, I can just add to my daily workload and publish new stories, and evolve existing ones as I have time. If there are any lessons you’d like to see, either at the 101, provider, or consumer level let me know–feel free to hit me up through any channel. I’m going to be doing these lessons for my clients, either publishing them privately or publicly to Github repositories, and developing API life cycle curriculum in this way. I am also going to develop a paid version of the lesson, which will perform alongside my API industry guides, as simple, yet rich walk throughs of specific API industry concepts–for a small fee, to support what I do. Ok, lots of work ahead, but I’m super stoked to have these first few lessons out the door, even if there is a lot of polishing still to be done.