Your API Is Bad
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Your API Is Bad

(And You Should Feel Bad)

About the Book

Your API Is Bad (and You Should Feel Bad) is a collection of mistakes that people make in their APIs. With the ascendancy of APIs, this is really starting to hurt. This book is not designed to instruct you on writing a good API; only experience and well-reasoned thought about your specific API can do that. Instead, the book aims to steer you away from writing a bad API. It's a tour of poorly-considered decisions that exist in many popular APIs, the shortcomings of those decisions, and thoughts about better ways to do things.

The inspiration for this book came about as I was writing yet another client library for yet another service, and found (yet again) that the service returned no useful, machine-readable information in error messages. All the error messages told my code was "Your request was bad and you should feel bad."

This book is my response: "Your API is bad and you should feel bad."

Let's stop feeling bad about our APIs.

About the Author

Paddy Carver
Paddy Carver

When he started writing this book, Paddy was a Developer Experience Engineer for an online service provider, where he worked to make their API easy to use and their developer experience pleasant. In his role, he worked with APIs quite a bit, but also ended up implementing lots of client libraries in a plethora of languages. Now he's a software engineer, and he's still fascinated by APIs.

When he's not doing that, he's writing client libraries and APIs for his own little company, Second Bit, to power mobile applications used by thousands of people around the world. Because, y'know, that's fun.

His core talents are pretending to know what he's doing and being confused about why people take him seriously.

About the Contributors

Michael Mahemoff
Michael Mahemoff

Founder, Player FM

Michael graciously offered to write a foreword for this, lending his knowledge as a pioneer in the field of Developer Experience. A great developer experience starts with a great API, and Michael is an authority on both.

Table of Contents

  • 1 Acknowledgements
  • 2 Foreword
  • 3 Introduction
  • 4 Anatomy of an API
  • 5 URLs
  • 6 Requests and Responses
  • 7 Errors

Causes Supported

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Defending your civil liberties in a digital world.

Based in San Francisco, EFF is a donor-supported membership organization working to protect fundamental rights regardless of technology.

From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense. EFF broke new ground when it was founded in 1990—well before the Internet was on most people's radar—and continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today. From the beginning, EFF has championed the public interest in every critical battle affecting digital rights.

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