Foreword to Principles of Web API Design from Mike Amundsen
API Strategist Mike Amundsen breaks down why he recommends this new book from James Higginbotham on delivering value with APIs and microservices.
According to a recent IDC report on APIs and API management, 75 percent of those surveyed were focused on digital transformation through the design and implementation of APIs and more than one half expected call volume and response time to grow dramatically. And most organizations admitted they faced challenges in meeting expectations for both internally and externally facing APIs. At the heart of all of this is the need for consistent, reliable, and scalable API design programs to help lead and transform existing organizations. As James Higginbotham puts it in this book: "The biggest challenge for today's API programs continues to be successfully designing APIs that can be understood and integrated by developers in a consistent and scalable fashion."
It was for this reason that I was so happy to have this book cross my desk. I've had the pleasure of working with James over the years and, knowing his work and his reputation, was very happy to hear he was writing a book that covers Web API design. Now, after reading through this book, I am equally happy to recommend it to you, the reader.
The field of Web APIs and the work of designing them has matured rapidly over the last few years, and keeping up with the latest developments is a major undertaking. Issues like changing business expectations for the role of APIs; maturing processes for gathering, recording, and documenting the work of API design; as well as evolving technology changes and all the work of coding, releasing, testing, and monitoring APIs make up an API landscape large enough that few people have been able to successfully tackle it. Through his Align-Define-Design-Refine process, James offers an excellent set of recommendations, examples, and experience-based advice to help the reader navigate the existing space of Web APIs and prepare for the inevitable changes ahead in the future.
One of the things about James's work that has always stood out is his ability to reach beyond the technical and into the social and business aspects of APIs and API programs within organizations. James has a long list of international clients across the business sectors of banking, insurance, global shipping, and even computer hardware providers, and the material in this book reflects this depth of experience. The techniques and processes detailed here have been tried and tested in all sorts of enterprise settings, and James's ability to distill what works into this one volume is impressive. Whether you are looking for advice on general design, business-technology alignment, or implementation details for various technologies such as REST, GraphQL, and event-driven platforms, you'll find important and actionable advice within these pages.
In particular, I found the material on how to refine your API design and implementation efforts within an ever-growing enterprise API program particularly timely and especially valuable. For those tasked with launching, managing, and expanding the role of Web-based APIs within a company, Principles of Web API Design should prove to be a welcome addition to your bookshelf.
As the aforementioned IDC report indicates, many companies around the globe are faced with important digital transformation challenges, and APIs have a major role to play in helping organizations meet the needs of their customers and in continuing to improve their own bottom line. Whether you are focused on designing, building, deploying, or maintaining APIs, this book contains helpful insights and advice.
I know this book will become an important part of my toolkit as I work with companies of all stripes to continue to mature and grow their API programs, and I expect you, too, will find it useful. Reading this book has reminded me of all the opportunities and challenges we all have before us. To borrow another line from James: "This is only the beginning."