Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The perfect API that nobody uses

We all know the one about the tree falling in the woods. Does it make a sound? The question is not quite as trivial as it first appears because sound is a perception that only makes sense when there is a being present to hear it. Otherwise it is just a vibration, just as any unseen image is just a snapshot of flying photons.

It reminded me of a situation at work where one team built an internal API to process textual content and return useful tags. In order for it to be used, some amendments were requested to permit cross origin communication from a front end client. The builders of the API were unwilling to amend their API to accommodate this, and the web support team was equally unhappy about building a proxy.

So the API went unused. I wondered idly to myself whether it then still qualified as an application programming interface, if there was nothing for it to interface with.

Whatever the answer, it makes sense to find a balance between doing things correctly and the pragmatism to get something used.


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