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I'm due to meet with a developer/sales person from a new 3rd party resource we're about to start using. The main topic I'll be interested in, is their API as I will be the developer making use of it and explaining it to the rest of the team.

What questions would you recommend asking?

Things I'm already thinking about are:

  • What happens and how will I be notified when they depreciate a method?
  • Is there ever any downtime?
  • Who will I deal with first when I have API issues?
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closed as not constructive by Thomas Owens Dec 10 '12 at 17:40

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Your question is too vague. We do not know what matters to you. –  M. Dudley Dec 10 '12 at 15:54
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@emddudley I think there are certainly general concerns that all developers will have about an API. –  Glenn Nelson Dec 10 '12 at 16:01
    
ask him what the meaning of life is. –  ADP Dec 10 '12 at 16:08
    
Ask if their source code is in escrow? Think risk mitigation. –  Guy Coder Dec 10 '12 at 16:21
    
List questions don't make particularly good questions for a Stack Exchange site. Also, the questions that would be most helpful to ask are dependent on your end goals. –  Thomas Owens Dec 10 '12 at 17:41

2 Answers 2

Besides the things you suggested by yourself (among which "who will I deal with first when I have API issues" is IMHO the most important question) I would ask

  • What kind of documentation do you provide?

  • Do you provide samples how to use the API?

  • How often do you provide new releases?

  • Do you provide a detailed and complete (!) change list for a new release with special hints on breaking changes?

  • Do your developers have a test suite in place (for example, to detect breaking changes)? (if the answer is no or "just for parts", you may consider bringing your own test suite in place)

  • Which requirements for the OS environment or run time environment does the lib have? What happens if there is a new version of the OS / run time environment, how quick can you test the lib / provide a new version if necessary?

  • What requirements on resources (memory, network, file system space, processor speed etc.) does the lib have?

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Though there is a laundry list of potential questions, the answer to your question is simply:

Read the API documentation before the initial meeting on the API and ask for any additional information that you will need for the success of the project.

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This is really good advice. –  Ramhound Dec 10 '12 at 18:05

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