Outside-In APIs

We spend a lot of time at work talking about APIs so Anant Jhingran’s “Six API predictions for 2012” was a particularly relevant read among the current glut of review/prediction pieces.

The section on “API-centric architectures” particularly chimes with our approach and the idea of an “outside-in model” resembles what I was getting at in “Building APIs, building on APIs“. I quite like the use of the phrase “outside-in”, and the iterative approach implied in:

In an outside-in model, one would start with easy consumption (read REST) of perhaps “chatty” APIs and then improve upon them. This is in contrast to thinking performance first and ease of use second.

As with anything user-centered this approach does require some sense of who those users are, and as ever that’s going to be the biggest challenge in most cases. To follow through, organisations are going to need to be proactive in understanding the value for others in our systems and try even harder to approach them as outsiders might.

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