Top 10 API Worst Practices

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