API Design

How to Design and Build Great Web APIs: An Interview with Mike Amundsen

build great web APIs

Many supply chains are facing challenges and require new ways of collaboration. The need for digital transformation has become more pressing than ever. Broadly speaking, digital transformation means to transform an organization and its teams and practices to embrace digitalized ways of designing, building, evaluating, tweaking and reinventing value chains. With these digitalized value chains, it becomes easier to track value creation and trends, to test hypotheses around new value chains, to adapt value chains to new situations and competition, and to generally make sure that change is not perceived as a challenge for the organization, but as an opportunity.

While APIs are not the only essential component of digital transformation, they are one of the foundational ones. APIs are the representation of all capabilities that are used in digital value chains, and APIs are the glue that make it possible to quickly compose and change them.

For this reason, an increasing number of organizations put a heavy emphasis of representing all their capabilities through APIs, some even going as far as using the “API First” approach where each new capability is conceived as an API first.

Mike Amundsen is one of the most prolific authors in the API space. He has written numerous books on the topic, and is one of the most well-known and respected specialists in the API space worldwide. With APIs becoming an important part of IT and general business strategies, understanding and properly using APIs is becoming increasingly important, and even for people with an IT background and career, API skills may not have been part of their history and experience so far.

With this backdrop in mind, Mike is working on a new book called “How to Design and Build Great Web APIs” which looks at the entire lifecycle of an API from the design phase all the way to where the API is operational, and now may have to be changed because of evolving requirements. The model presented in the book is split into three parts:

  • Design: This is the phase where a model needs to be created, which then leads into a design phase for the API, which then needs to be described.

  • Build: This phase is all about turning the design into an operational API, and this involves some initial sketching, followed by prototyping, which finally leads to building the API product.

  • Release: Finally, the API product needs to be released so that others can use it. This final part involves testing, followed by securing the API, and finally deploying it into the production environment.

In this interview, Mike Amundsen will walk us through these steps of his model, pointing out some of the typical challenges and pitfalls that people are faced with. We also get some information about how all of this fits into the bigger picture of an organization’s evolving API landscape, and how developers can make sure that their API products are as useful as possible against the backdrop of an organization’s existing API platform.

Listening to this interview, you can learn what modern development of API products looks like, and how to partition the development process into simple and easy-to-follow steps. Sign up to watch my interview with Mike Amundsen.