{"API Evangelist"}

What Is An API First Strategy? Adding Some Dimensions To This New Question

I hear this phrase used more and more lately, “An API First Strategy”. It is something you hear from startups like printing API LOB, to established players like Pearson, all the way up to 18F at the GSA in Washington DC, but what is API first? Much like APIs in general, an API first strategy is something that will mean something different to each company, organization, government agency, or individual.

From my view, the most common interpretation of API first will be:

I had an interesting conversation today with the 18F team in Washington DC, and they illuminated some other possible dimensions to the API first conversation for me, that I wanted to explore a little:

My goal is to help small business, non-profit organizations, and government of all shapes and sizes understand the benefits of an API first strategy, so having conversation with API leaders like 18F, and getting their view on what API first means is essential to my storytelling process. How do you view API first at your company? How has your development lifecycle evolved since embracing APIs? Let me know, I’m curious to hear other views on the phrase.

All three of the dimensions laid out above are very appealing to me. I am big advocate for "API first being" about API design, open source software architectural patterns, or just a way of life before you consider connecting any web, mobile, or single page app to a back-end system. To me, API is more about conversation, collaboration, and access to ideas and resources, before we even get to any technical definition of what an API can be—making API first strategies more about philosophy and methodology, rather than what technical component you develop first.