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Book Review: Designing Web APIs: Building APIs That Developers Love

Matej Kovac
Still struggling with 'Hello World'
・2 min read

Release Date: September 2019

Pages: 232

Authors: Amir Shevat, Brenda Jin, Saurabh Sahni

Difficulty: 30% Some working knowledge and understanding of API is required. Novice would have a hard time understanding some of the terms and techniques mentioned in this book.

Why Designing Web APIs

I picked this book to get a better understanding of designing APIs, as the title says, but... I did not read the subtitle which explains a lot about this book.

I love reading books because it provides great insight into some technology or field. Instead of going through all of the documentation, you are able to learn from someone who has years of experience in that field, and pages were reviewed by a few authors who fit the same description.

The What?
So what can be said about Designing Web APIs?

I was a bit surprised with a small number of pages for this book, I expected a bit more in-depth info about specific patterns and good practices, and honestly to cover more things (my fault for not reading a table of content)

The book is really easy to read through if you don't have much time to spend reading. You can spend 20-30 min before sleep to go through the whole chapter as you don't need access to a computer to try something, maybe just to add some notes if you like to do that

Each chapter is really focused on the content it title, authors were kind enough to provide a lot of quotes and some short case studies to back up their claims and show you how even big companies struggle, make mistakes, and what did and did not work for them.

I never found the book to be boring (good thing about it being short), authors do not go into unnecessary details and provide you with some of the good practices and what you should think about when working on your API.

Some in-depth is lacking and you need to go and do some investigation on your own to get a better understanding of certain patterns in your code.

Who is this book for?

I would say any novice to intermediate would benefit from reading this book to understand some of the things you need to think about when designing API. A complete novice may find some things hard to follow but since the book is easy to read, it should still be a good book to start with, and as you gain more knowledge, you would know what to watch out for. Definitely not for someone more experienced in developing APIs

Summary:
It provides a good overview of API and some of the practices that can help you build a better product, not just from a technology perspective. It is not a book I would buy to have on a shelf to use as a guide, but since it is short, it is worth reading for anyone who wants to broaden the knowledge on good API practices in case you work on just small pieces of your product or starting developing your own

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