Introductory API Concepts Are Timeless
15 Oct 2019
I’ve been working on a series of introductory API blog posts for Postman, helping introduce people to the concepts of APIs. When I do series like this I tend to get comments from people that the work reflects my earlier writing on API Evangelist, and is something that reflects the past. Bringing people out of the woodwork who feel that everything I publish here on API Evangelist is always in forward motion, and my knowledge of is always advancing and marching ever into the future at a steady pace. I feel that this notion reflects a general belief that technology is always moving froward and that you either keep up with the pace, or you are left behind. Believing that most API concepts are outdated shortly after they are applied, and we will always have to be looking out for the next evolution in how APIs are being done.
As long as API Evangelist is operating, I will always be reworking how I tell stories that target API newbies. I always find it valuable to force myself to step back from what I know and how I articulate the vast world of APIs to folks who are just learning about APIs. It is vital to the sector that we are always educating and on-boarding new voices, and we should all be working to equip all skill levels with our API evangelism, communication, and training. Ensuring that we aren’t just leveling up in everything we do, and we continue to reach as wide as possible audience as we can with our storytelling. Forcing ourselves to re-evaluate how we articulate our API practices to others, refine our storytelling, documentation, and other resources—considering how they will be viewed by newcomers, as well as the veterans who depend on our services.
Regular investment in introductory API concepts helps us stay grounded, remember how we got here, and ensure we keep the rope ladder available for others to get to the same place we are. Technology does not perpetually move forward in a linear fashion, forever erasing what came before, and unleashing the inevitable future at regular intervals. There are numerous historical API concepts that are still applicable, which should regularly be re-evaluated, re-worked, and applied in today’s environment. Despite many of us living and working within he API echo chamber, there are still many, many individuals who exist within other work industries where APIs haven’t fully penetrated and flourished. We can’t assume everyone sees the technology sector as we do, and are aware of how APIs are changing everything, and driving desktop, web, mobile, and device applications.
Introductory API concepts are timeless and should be always kept as a regular part of the conversation. We should never shame people for not understanding everything that is going on, and never assume a level of proficiency with people who appear to have a history of working with APIs. You just never know where someone has come from, and what their journey towards API literacy has involved. We should regularly work to redefine how we on-board new voices into the API space, and perpetually hone how we share stories about what APIs are, why they matter, and how they are being applied. The basics of REST are not a 2005 concept, anymore than API management is simply a 2010 concept. Make sure your API storytelling toolbox is full of introductory, intermediate, advanced, and master level API stories and tools, ensuring you reach the widest possible audience you can.