The Programmable web is changing everything, the way we work with each other, the way we consume, the way we live our lives. But first it is fundamentally changing how the economy works.
Disrupting classic norms of hierarchy, competition and collaboration; web Application Programming Interfaces are defining a new technical and commercial access and relation between applications developers and companies.
When I look around the little village of API specialists within the tech world, there are an increasing number, in the last year, with the title “API Product Manager”. Keep in mind that just a few years ago, this job title didn’t exist. There are so many other roles involved in what it takes to lead the build-out of high quality APIs. In my experience, the de facto product owner (title or not) for APIs needs to represent an amalgamation of roles to be the most effective.
The roles listed here are my perspective on what it takes. However, I’d consider this a survey of sorts, and I’d encourage you to leave comments about your perspective. Continue reading “Who are the best API Product Managers?” »
In the late 20th century, scientists began to flirt with proof that there is dark matter in our universe. As we learned that as much as 96% of the mass of the universe is represented by something we cannot observe, we’re entering a new era of understanding about the nature of matter. However, the struggle in this field is that we only have a measurable knowledge that these things exist, and educated guesses about how much of the universe is comprised of this yet undescribed material. Integrated software systems using few standards beyond HTTP, better known as Web APIs, now seem to have something in common with dark matter. There are far more organizations building private, or internal-only, APIs as opposed to public API programs. As an industry, this perspective can not be overlooked, and has the potential to change the way we think about developing APIs.
Developer Experience is important, and that includes much more than the technical design of an API. It also includes the documentation and support as well as the pricing and the legal licensing terms. In almost every API project I have been involved in the legal details have been slapped on last-minute, usually by a lawyer that does not know anything about APIs or technology.
There are also way too many examples of API licensing terms that are actively developer hostile, which does not really invite developers to use the API (assuming they read the terms of service that is).
A brilliant, undiscovered app developer just logged into the front page for your API program (please don’t tell me you just emailed a PDF), and made their first successful call. They’re frustrated, feeling like they don’t understand what just happened, and generally just exhausted.
Hopes of impressing colleagues with a quick demo espousing the ease of adoption have been dashed. They are eagerly digging through your content trying to find a way to explain the value of what your API brings to his company.