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How An API-First Mindset Made The World A Collection Of Interconnected Microservices


An API-first approach is a software development methodology that emphasizes the design and documentation of an API before the development of the underlying code. This approach has a number of advantages, including:

  • Improved API design: By focusing on the API first, developers can take the time to design an API that is well-documented, easy to use, and scalable.

  • Reduced development time: Once the API is designed, the development of the underlying code can be much faster, as developers can focus on implementing the API's functionality.

  • Increased flexibility: An API-first approach makes it easier to change the underlying code, as the API can be updated without affecting the code that consumes it.

  • Improved testability: An API-first approach makes it easier to test the underlying code, as the API can be used to generate test data.

Being API First

There are many benefits to adopting an API-first approach to software development, including:

  • Improved API design: By focusing on the API first, developers can take the time to design an API that is well-documented, easy to use, and scalable. This can make it easier for other developers to use your API, and can lead to increased adoption of your product or service.

  • Reduced development time: Once the API is designed, the development of the underlying code can be much faster, as developers can focus on implementing the API's functionality. This can save you time and money on development costs.

  • Increased flexibility: An API-first approach makes it easier to change the underlying code, as the API can be updated without affecting the code that consumes it. This can give you more flexibility in how you develop your product or service.

  • Improved testability: An API-first approach makes it easier to test the underlying code, as the API can be used to generate test data. This can help you to ensure that your product or service is working correctly before it is released to the public.

How to Become API First

If you are interested in adopting an API-first approach to software development, there are a few things you can do to get started:

  1. Start by designing your API. This includes defining the API's endpoints, methods, and data formats.

  2. Document your API. This will help other developers to understand how to use your API.

  3. Create a test suite for your API. This will help you to ensure that your API is working correctly.

  4. Deploy your API. There are a number of ways to deploy an API, including hosting it yourself or using a third-party service.

  5. Promote your API. Let other developers know about your API and how they can use it.

This can lead to a number of benefits, including improved API design, reduced development time, increased flexibility, and improved testability. Many also launch net-new products or pivot into being a behind-the-scenes microservice embedded or called by other tools. AWS, Twilio, Stripe, Akamai, Auth0, and plenty of other providers aren't household names, but are used in most products that are. Many got there by just making great APIs.


Good API Design

A good API design is essential for any successful API. A well-designed API is easy to use, scalable, and secure. It is also well-documented and can be easily extended.

There are a number of factors to consider when designing an API, including:

  • The target audience: Who will be using your API? What are their needs and expectations?

  • The API's purpose: What is the purpose of your API? What functionality does it provide?

  • The API's scope: How wide or narrow is the scope of your API? Will it cover all of your application's functionality, or just a subset?

  • The API's style: What style will your API use? RESTful, SOAP, or something else?

  • The API's security: How will you secure your API? Will you use OAuth, API keys, or something else?

  • The API's documentation: How will you document your API? Will you use Swagger, RAML, or something else?

By considering all of these factors, you can design an API that is easy to use, scalable, and secure.

Here are some additional tips for good API design:

  • Use consistent naming conventions. This will make it easier for developers to understand your API.

  • Use descriptive error messages. This will help developers to debug problems with their code.

  • Use versioning. This will allow you to make changes to your API without breaking existing clients.

  • Test your API thoroughly. This will help to ensure that it is working correctly before you release it to the public.

  • Promote your API. Let other developers know about your API and how they can use it.

When we started out, newer object oriented languages like Java had just begun to replace the old functional programming multi-thousand line environments of old. Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a programming paradigm that is based on the concept of "objects". An object is a data structure that contains both data and code. The data is in the form of fields (often known as attributes or properties), and the code is in the form of procedures (often known as methods). A common feature of objects is that procedures (or methods) are attached to them and can access and modify the object's data fields.


In OOP, computer programs are designed by making them out of objects that interact with one another. OOP languages are diverse, but the most popular ones are class-based, meaning that objects are instances of classes, which also determine their types. Many of the most widely used programming languages (such as C++, Java, Python, etc.) are object-oriented - or at least can be.


The Benefits of Object-Oriented Programming

There are many benefits to using object-oriented programming. Some of the most notable benefits can be summarized in the four main pillars of object-oriented programming:

  • Encapsulation: Encapsulation is the principle of bundling together data and code that are related to each other. This makes it easier to understand and maintain the code, and it also helps to protect the data from being accessed or modified by unauthorized code.

  • Abstraction: Abstraction is the process of hiding the implementation details of an object from the user. This makes the object easier to use, and it also makes it easier to change the implementation without affecting the user.

  • Inheritance: Inheritance is the ability of one object to inherit the properties and methods of another object. This makes it possible to reuse code, and it also makes it easier to create new objects.

  • Polymorphism: Polymorphism is the ability of an object to respond to a message in different ways depending on the type of object that sends the message. This makes it possible to write code that is more general and flexible.

The World Is Just A Collection Of Microservices

The world is becoming increasingly interconnected. This can (and should) have a profound impact on the way we develop software. In the past, software was developed as monolithic applications. Sure, we were object-oriented within the monolith, but as applications became large and complex, they became difficult to maintain and update.


Today, software is increasingly being developed as microservices. Microservices are small, independent services that communicate with each other over well-defined APIs. This approach has many advantages over monolithic applications. Microservices are easier to develop, maintain, and update. They are also more scalable and resilient.


The rise of microservices has a number of implications for the future of software development. First, it means that software developers will need to be more skilled in distributed systems and API design. Second, it means that software development will become more agile and iterative. Third, it means that software developers will need to be more collaborative and work more closely with other teams, such as DevOps and security teams.


Microservices makes software more scalable, resilient, and easier to develop and maintain. It also makes software development more agile and collaborative. Yet microservices have their own challenges, which include:

  • Complexity: Microservices can be complex to manage. There are many more moving parts in a microservices architecture than in a monolithic architecture, which can make it difficult to keep track of everything.

  • Security: Microservices can be more difficult to secure than monolithic applications. This is because there are more potential attack vectors.

  • Testing: Microservices can be more difficult to test than monolithic applications. This is because each service needs to be tested individually, and it can be difficult to test the interactions between services.

Operating system vendors and open source repositories also offer plenty of frameworks, extensions, plug-ins, and modules that can be imported into services. It's not uncommon for a microservice to be 20 to 50 lines of code and have each call others, using rotating keys to secure communications. This is why services like Amazon's Lambda became popular. Many resemble functions from monolithic applications, thus how Google came up with the name Google Cloud Functions. Each microservice often reads as a functional program in COBOL might have read. As we move towards API first, and writing each function or service as an object that can be called on by others, we can then rent access to them out - thus sometimes becomming a platform to do a thing, rather than a product purchased by the masses. Fred Brooks would be proud.

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