1.2 Gather Requirements

Talking to your users and asking what they would like is just as important in API creation as user interface creation. At times it may be necessary to second-guess requirements but if you have the time it is always more efficient to engage with potential users. Technical people need to ask the user what they are actually after. You could survey a group of developers or ask members of your team.

The development of a good set of APIs is very much a chicken-and-egg situation – without a good body of users, it is very hard to guess at the perfect APIs for them, and without a good set of APIs, you cannot gather a set of users. The only way out is to understand that the API development cannot be milestoned and laid-out in a precise manner; the development must be powered by an agile fast iterative method and test/response basis. You will have to bribe a small set of users to start with, generally bribe them with the potential access to a body of information they could not get hold of before. Don’t fall into the trap of considering these early adopters as the core audience; they are just there to bootstrap and if you listen too much to them, the only audience your API will become suitable for is that small bootstrap group.

One Response to “1.2 Gather Requirements”

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