Top 10 API Worst Practices

Adam DuVander
Aug. 03 2012, 07:00AM EDT

We try to stay positive at ProgrammableWeb. We've talked a lot about the keys to a great API, but not so much about what some of the lesser APIs do. And, with a directory of over 6,000 APIs, you'd better believe we've seen some worst practices.

  • Poor error handling
  • REST APIs that ignore HTTP rules
  • Exposing your raw underlying data model
  • Security complexity
  • Unexpected and undocumented releases
  • Poor developer experience
  • Expect an MVC framework "gives" you a great API
  • Assume if you build it they will come
  • Inadequate support
  • Poor documentation

Many of these issues came up in the developer survey that said Facebook causes the most developer pain.

For other tips on the positive side, see what makes a great API.

Photo by Richard Riley

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

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