Michal Paszkiewicz

review: Irresistible APIs

To begin with, I've got to say that I felt a bit misled after reading this book. The title "Irresistible APIs" suggested to me that the author was targeting developers who already have been making APIs and that are looking for ways to make these APIs easy and nice to consume. In retrospect, I should have noticed how in the blurb, the author has written that the process "succeeds for all members of the team" and that the reader will "learn some successful biz-to-dev" communication patterns. This book does not succeed at drawing the attention of an experienced programmer. I am also unsure whether this book will be particularly mind-blowing for an experienced product owner. I think this book still has a use, but that is as reading material for inexperienced teams. The suggestions given to developers in this book will be useful for junior developers who need some guidance and the business advice may be useful to some startups that still need ideas for how to take their business further, but most teams in established companies are already following the processes outlined in this book.

I was further disappointed that the API given as an example in chapter 2 didn't follow standard API procedures (nor the ones outlined later in this book). The POST and PUT requests returned bodies (with the same content as that which was POSTed/PUT). The API enforced specifying which id to PUT your topping to (via the url - http://irresistibleapis.com/api/v1.0/toppings/#toppingID#), but it turns out that the ID is neither useful, nor a good ID, since a second PUT to the same ID will overwrite the content with that ID already there. I would have definitely expected an error.

The author writes a lot about RESTful APIs, yet her example API is not RESTful. In fact, the author barely covers HATEOAS - merely mentioning it in one of the many case studies presented throughout the book.

As mentioned before, this book definitely has value as an instructional book for developing teams that are not yet mature and it is definitely a very readable book that does a great job of drawing the reader in. By the end of the book, I felt like this book might have an agenda in it - this book uses some great rhetoric to try to persuade the reader to expose APIs publicly, providing case studies of major businesses that have been successful and keeping the language fairly simple. Was the author trying to persuade a particular set of managers to change their mind?

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published: Sun May 14 2017

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Michal Paszkiewicz reads books, solves equations and plays instruments whenever he isn't developing software for Transport For London. All views on this site are the author's views only and do not necessarily represent the views of TfL.