Technologists, especially venture fueled technologists love to take the web for granted. Nothing does web scale better than, the web. Good API architects work to clearly articulate objectives behind their APIs, and always consider how they are leveraging the web, allowing for content negotiation, caching, and other fundamental strengths of the web. To do this properly, it takes investment in ensuring teams have the proper web literacy, and are regularly introduced to the essential building blocks of the web, and shown how they contribute to their diverse API design toolbox.
One way to quickly identify the maturity of a teams API toolbox, is whether or not they are always consider the right media type for the job, and understanding the trade-offs of HTML, CSV, XML, JSON, YAML, and other media types. Carefully evaluating when hypermedia media types might be more suitable for document, media, and other content focused API resources. Knowing that web APIs can make a huge difference when they speak to their intended audience and allow them to easily translate an API call into a workable spreadsheet, or navigate to the previous or next episode, installment, or other logical grouping with sensible hypermedia controls. Good API design is more about having a robust and diverse API design toolbox to choose from, than it is ever about the dogma that exists around any specific approach, philosophy, protocol, or venture capital fueled trend.
Good API design is more about building on the web, and reusing the most common parts of the HTTP specification. This is why simple web APIs aren’t going anywhere soon. Just like the original API, HTML web pages, APIs that share data, content, and other resources in a machine readable forms will continue to evolve, but is more about the evolution of the web than they are about being just a technological trend. When maturing your approach to delivering APIs focus on the web over any other aspect of delivering APIs, and give priority to reusing the building blocks of the web over reinventing the wheel, or building in dependencies proprietary approaches. Always be leveraging the web as part of each tool in your API toolbox, helping contribute to a more reusable and scalable approach to delivering critical API infrastructure.