API Design Patterns
JJ Geewax
  • MEAP began June 2019
  • Publication in Early 2021 (estimated)
  • ISBN 9781617295850
  • 375 pages (estimated)
  • printed in black & white
Modern software systems are composed of many servers, services, and other components that communicate through APIs. As a developer, your job is to make sure these APIs are stable, reliable, and easy to use for other developers. API Design Patterns provides you with a unique catalog of design standards and best practices to ensure your APIs are flexible and user-friendly. Fully illustrated with examples and relevant use-cases, this essential guide covers patterns for API fundamentals and real-world system designs, along with quite a few not-so-common scenarios and edge-cases.

About the Technology

API design patterns are a useful set of best practice specifications and common solutions to API design challenges. Using accepted design patterns creates a shared language amongst developers who create and consume APIs, which is especially critical given the explosion of mission-critical public-facing web APIs. API Patterns are still being developed and discovered. This collection, gathered and tested by Google API expert JJ Geewax, is the first of its kind.

About the book

API Design Patterns draws on the collected wisdom of the API community, including the internal developer knowledge base at Google, laying out an innovative set of design patterns for developing both internal and public-facing APIs. In this essential guide, Google Software Engineer JJ Geewax provides a unique and authoritative catalog of patterns that promote flexibility and ease-of-use in your APIs. Each pattern in the catalog is fully illustrated with its own example API, use-cases for solving common API design challenges, and scenarios for tricky edge issues using a pattern’s more subtle features. With the best practices laid out in this book, you can ensure your APIs are adaptive in the face of change and easy for your clients to incorporate into their projects.
Table of Contents detailed table of contents

PART 1 Introduction

Introduction to APIs

1.1 What are interfaces?

1.2 What are APIs?

1.3 Why do APIs matter?

1.4 What are resource-oriented APIs?

1.5 What makes an API “good”?

1.5.1 Operational

1.5.2 Expressive

1.5.3 Simple

1.5.4 Predictable

1.6 Summary

Introduction to API design patterns

2.1 What are API design patterns?

2.2 Why are API design patterns important?

2.3 Anatomy of an API design pattern

2.3.1 Name and synopsis

2.3.2 Motivation

2.3.3 Overview

2.3.4 Implementation

2.3.5 Trade-offs

2.4 Case study: Twapi a Twitter-like API

2.4.1 Overview

2.4.2 Listing messages

2.4.3 Exporting data

2.5 Summary

PART 2 General design principles


Resource scope and hierarchy

Data types

Standard fields

Default values

Versioning and compatibility

Resource identification

9.1 What is an "identifier"?

9.2 What makes a good identifier?

9.2.1 Easy to use

9.2.2 Unique

9.2.3 Permanent

9.2.4 Fast and easy to generate

9.2.5 Unpredictable

9.2.6 Readable, copyable, and shareable

9.2.7 Informationally dense

9.3 What does a good identifier look like?

9.3.1 Data type

9.3.2 Character set

9.3.3 Identifier format

9.3.4 Checksums

9.3.5 Resource type

9.3.6 Hierarchy and uniqueness scope

9.4 Implementation

9.4.1 Size

9.4.2 Generation

9.4.3 Tombstoning

9.4.4 Checksum

9.4.5 Database storage

9.5 What about UUIDs?

9.6 Exercises

9.7 Summary

PART 3 Resource layout

Singleton subresources

10.1 Motivation

10.2 Overview

10.3 Implementation

10.4 Trade-offs

10.5 Exercises

10.6 Summary


11.1 Motivation

11.2 Overview

11.3 Implementation

11.4 Trade-offs

11.5 Summary

Association resources

12.1 Motivation

12.2 Overview

12.3 Implementation

12.4 Trade-offs

12.5 Exercises

12.6 Summary

Add and Remove methods

13.1 Motivation

13.2 Overview

13.3 Implementation

13.4 Trade-offs

13.5 Exercises

13.6 Summary

PART 4 Basic interactions

Standard methods

Copy and move

Enabling and disabling

Partial updates and retrievals

Batch operations

Long-running operations

Rerunnable jobs

PART 5 Special interactions

Soft deletion

Request deduplication

Request validation

Shortcut methods

Anonymous writes


Operations on non-local resources


PART 6 Data exploration and transformation


29.1 Motivation

29.2 Overview

29.3 Implementation

29.4 Trade-offs

29.5 Anti-pattern: Offsets and limits

29.6 Summary




Importing and exporting


PART 7 Enterprise

Access control


Error statuses and messages

Retry logic


Data privacy

What's inside

  • A full case-study of building an API and adding features
  • The guiding principles that underpin most API patterns
  • Fundamental patterns for resource layout and naming
  • Advanced patterns for special interactions and data transformations

About the reader

Aimed at software developers with experience using APIs, who want to start building their own.

About the author

JJ Geewax is a software engineer at Google, focusing on Google Cloud Platform and API design. He is also the author of Google Cloud Platform in Action.

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