My API Design Research

I am giving each of my primary API research sites a refresh, and first up is the home page of my API design research. As I update each home page, I'm going to publish here on API Evangelist to help bring more awareness to each of the main areas I'm studying.

This is one of my API research sites, focused specifically on API design. My name is Kin Lane, and I am the API Evangelist, working as hard as I can to understand the world of the Application Programming Interface, widely called an API. This network of API research projects all run on Github, and is my real-time workbench, which means there is a lot of finished work present, but occasionally you will also come across areas projects that are unfinished--you have stumbled in my API design research, you will find the main API Evangelist site over here, with other links to my work.

This site is where I publish news that I have read, stories I’ve published, company I’ve profiled, and valuable tools I’m stumbled on across while researching API design space. I’m in the middle of carving off a couple individual projects from this API design research including hypermedia, and a soon API definition specific projects. As with my other research projects, there can be a great deal of overlap with other projects, when it comes to defining exactly what is API design. This research isn’t about being complete, or finished, it is about maintaining a liquid understanding of what API design is, and be as comprehensive as a one man operation can be.

I execute on my API research by focusing in on specific areas like API design, getting to work understanding who the key actors are, which may include individual personalities, or corporate, government, or institutional entities. I profile each actor, and establish monitoring streams using Github, Twitter, RSS, Stack Exchange, and any other relevant channels. Throughout my monitoring I keep an eye out for interesting articles, white papers, announcements, and tooling that contribute to, and expands upon my definition of what is API design.

The more I research an area like API design, the more I’m able to identify common building blocks, that make up the space. For API design, this can be as fundamental as API definitions, or as specific as publishing and sharing interactive documentation. My interpretation of these building blocks change over time, and sometimes I will link up these building blocks with other research projects, or spin off as independent projects, allowing me to dive even deeper—for example, Swagger began as a building block on API management, and is now its own research area entirely.

All my research is openly licensed CC-BY, and is meant to help grow the awareness around healthy API design practices. I try to be as fair as I can when covering companies, individuals, and the tools they provide, but ultimately you will notice I have my favorites, and there are some areas I only touch on lightly, for a variety of personal reasons. I try to stay as neutral as I can when it comes to technological dogma, and company allegiance, but after almost five years, I have some pretty strong opinions, and can’t help but try and steer, and influence things in my own unique way. ;-)

Thanks for reading!