APIs change. Your API-dependent application supply chain too.
Often in the good way, we call it evolution , releases and new versions with new awesome features!
But sometimes services are down, versions are deprecated, functionalities break … maybe the company has been acquired by Facebook? ;)
When an API changes, all your business, application or website can be weakened, perturbed or even broken. Although you really are aware of the risk, you somehow blindly trust your API provider and unconsciously hope that it will find a solution in time, for you.
However, you may be using an API that has dozens, hundreds or even thousands of developers in its ecosystem and you may be the last person to know that the API is broken and your app doesn’t work anymore!
And it is even worse when the company outsources software development.
Let’s see what are the solutions today to monitor API changes and manage efficiently your composite application supply chain?
I identified 6 ways for that:
1) Watch the API’s official blog
You will find information about changes, versions, their roadmap… maybe there is even a changelog to help you see the differences between versions.
Some providers have a newsletter, subscribe to it, it is important to stay in touch with your API supplier.
2) Following the Official API Twitter account
If you want to get instantaneously informed about API changes, you can follow the official API’s Twitter account, if there exists one. I hope that the API status Twitter account is managed by the API team inside the company and not an badly managed outsourced one, otherwise there might be some hours of delay for status updates.
3) Programmableweb blog
Programmableweb.com is the main directory of APIs, they register APIs and mashups since more than 5 years, and blog often on API enconomy and API changes/breaks.
It has been founded by John musser an official twitter are @programableweb @jmusser @adamd (editor)
4) Hacker News
Hacker News is the forum of Y-combinator (the start-up accelerator founded by Paul Graham). Here you’ll find discussions about programming and business topics. Discussions about APIs are often very interesting and start a whole thread of comments. You can check few minutes per day to check what’s hot in the developer’s ecosystem and API ecosystem.
5) Other Twitter accounts talking about the API industry
Twitter enables you to find information from others tweetos! Don’t hesitate to follow the accounts of blogs or companies dealing with the API ecosystem such as @progammableweb @kinlane @3scale @Mashery @Apigee @Layer7 @SOAsoftwareinc @Alu_cloud @mashaper @Webshell_ @Temboo for example.
News often come from articles on Gigaom, Venturebeat, TechCrunch and so on, so you might get the information via other tweetos as well.
6) When your application breaks :(
The worst way to know that an API has changed, it is the hard way: when you receive claims that your application doesn’t work anymore.
So every now and then check your application and be sure that all members of your API team receive your customers’, users’ alerts by email at your email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org address.
But the most important piece of advice we could share is: count only on yourself to find the information!