Application Programming Interface (API) Design discusses best practises for creating libraries intended for general purpose or public use.

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Should I separate a web api from the webserver?

Lets say I'm building a site similar to this or Quora (or some arbitrary blog-like site). I need a real-time component that will be using web-sockets/long-polling to notify the user of new posts, ...
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1answer
517 views

How should data transfer between a client and a web API for normalized data be designed?

I want to design an API backed by some database (doesn't really matter which, but to make the discussion more interesting, let's say it's Mongo - explanation below) which sends data to a client. The ...
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2answers
233 views

As an API-user, would you tolerate BestPractice Exceptions?

I'm in the process of designing an API, part of which involves writing POCOs to a database. In C#, we have the DateTime structure. The "default" value for this (DateTime.MinValue) is 01/01/0001. ...
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1answer
329 views

Single page app permissions represented through RESTful APIs

I'm trying to figure out the right way to handle permissions in a single page app that talks directly to several RESTful APIs, that implement HATEOAS. As an example: "As a user of my application I ...
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1answer
123 views

Python API: Extension Module or Pure Module

We have a C++ application, with C++ interfaces changing regularly during development. We also have a C API which is designed to be stable in spite of such changes; the C API is tighly focused on ...
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1answer
191 views

How to create Public API wrapper with different configuration parameters

I'm looking to see if there is a design pattern that can solve the following problem. The example is fairly specific but the goal is a public + internal API. I need specific information for my ...
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3answers
432 views

Why do APIs generally consist of interfaces? [duplicate]

I am starting out in Java API design and in reading existing code bases, I have found that most APIs consist of interfaces only with their implementations bundled in a different package. Having read ...
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2answers
223 views

Accepting a numerical range in a function call

I have encountered two ways of doing it: void foo(int from, int to); /* 'from' inclusive, 'to' exclusive */ void foo(int startIndex, int rangelength); Has one style historically been preferred ...
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2answers
2k views

Should one always know what an API is doing just by looking at the code?

Recently I have been developing my own API and with that invested interest in API design I have been keenly interested how I can improve my API design. One aspect that has come up a couple times is ...
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1answer
200 views

Designing javascript chart library

I started coding a chart library on top of d3js: My chart library. I read Javascript API reusability and Towards reusable charts. However, I am NOT really following the suggestions because I am not ...
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0answers
42 views

Online error reporting without network access

I have developed an application for android requiring no permissions, but the biggest downside of this is that I don't have error reporting. So, I was playing around for the past week with any ...
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2answers
364 views

Should event listeners be held in weak references?

Usually event listeners shouldn't outlive object that registered them. Does it mean that event listeners should be held by weak references by default (stored in weak collections by the object ...
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1answer
2k views

Shouldn't Android's TextView.getText() return String instead of possibly mutable CharSequence?

I've just spent hours debugging some code because I forgot (actually never considered it) that TextView.getText() returns CharSequence that may be in fact a mutable class... Shouldn't it return ...
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2answers
157 views

Guidelines for returning collections from public functions

The Problem Imagine you have a function in a public API that needs to return some kind of collection. Its type is something like foo :: a -> b where b is some kind of collection. As far as I ...
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2answers
1k views

How to handle fine grained field-based ACL permissions in a RESTful service?

I've been trying to design a RESTful API and have had most of my questions answered, but there is one aspect of permissions that I'm struggling with. Different roles may have different permissions ...
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3answers
490 views

Checking for the presence of optional properties of an object

I'm designing a class that holds several types of data. Some of the properties are optional. For example, let's say I have a class that represents a person, and one of the properties is occupation. ...
3
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1answer
133 views

REST object with resources

I am designing a HTTP-based REST API. Let's say I have an entity called Entity that has a bunch of properties. Some of its properties are files. Let's say Entity has following properties: name: ...
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3answers
269 views

Best and safest API for a function which fills a buffer with variable-length data

I have a function which receives a buffer and returns some data in the buffer. The data can be smaller than the buffer capacity. Which is the best and safest API for this? int fn(void *buffer, ...
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1answer
143 views

Performance of One API vs Multiple API's

I was having a conversation with a colleague and although my opinion makes sense to me, I wasn't able to back it up. I'm in the process of creating an API that will be hit hundreds of thousands of ...
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4answers
501 views

Should an API be aware of client versions?

Should an API be aware of a client version? The idea of that really goes against the grain for me, but it seems like it is being pushed for in my current project. Am I wrong? Can I get some reasons ...
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5answers
8k views

How do searches fit into a RESTful interface?

When designing a RESTful interface, the semantics of the request types are deemed vital to the design. GET - List collection or retrieve element PUT - Replace collection or element POST - Create ...
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2answers
289 views

Should I use HTTP search

I am working on a web api and I am curios about the HTTP SEARCH verb and how you should use it. My first approach was, well you could use it surely for a search. But asp.net WebApi doesn't support ...
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1answer
219 views

Protecting API Keys

Iv'e moved this from SO as it's more of a design question than a code one. In many applications third party websites/programs can access the website via a key. For example, a web application hosts ...
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6answers
5k views

How necessary is it to follow defensive programming practices for code that will never be made publicly available?

I'm writing a Java implementation of a card game, so I created a special type of Collection I'm calling a Zone. All modification methods of Java's Collection are unsupported, but there's a method in ...
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2answers
247 views

Returning view code in an API response

I have an API that returns a JSON formatted array of users within a given pair of lat/ long bounds. I'm using this data to plot a number of markers on a map, based on the location of each user. I ...
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2answers
2k views

How to avoid unauthorized use of an API?

I have to design a "widget", a script that partners will embed in their websites to display some UI and make calls to our API. Basically it will display our data on these sites based on some IDs they ...
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2answers
1k views

Coarse-grained views on server vs fine-grained views assembled on client vs fine-grained views with batching

I've currently got a browser talking via an "API" to the server. API is scare quoted because the API really wouldn't support another user interface very well, because it consists of every call our UI ...
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4answers
426 views

What are some good ways to represent relationship among three numbers

I'm trying to find a clean, intuitive way to implement this problem. Basically, I have three numbers, and based on relationship (less than, greater than, and equal to) among these numbers would change ...
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2answers
116 views

Is there a way to efficiently allow a user to upload multiple content at once for e-commerce type sites?

Sellers on large sites like Amazon and Newegg need to provide names, descriptions, and images for their products to be displayed on the e-commerce sites. These sellers could have 10000+ products to ...
2
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1answer
257 views

How far to go when standardizing code [duplicate]

My small team and I have created a decent sized web application (~50k lines), with a fully featured API, all in Perl. As us perl hackers know.. it is easy to get sloppy. We had to port over a lot of ...
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3answers
530 views

C API in C++ with RAII, two alternatives to implement error handling (Exceptions)

I have an API written in C, which produces a result by returning a pointer to allocated memory. For using it with C++ (C++11) I've wrapped the function calls in objects, which keep the result in a ...
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1answer
75 views

Web Routing Standards

We are putting together an API to provide our vendors some simplistic direct access. I've built APIs before, and have always routed them as such: {controller}/{action}/{id} My boss, however doesn't ...
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1answer
2k views

A good design pattern for a Web API where models/enities are searchable by foreign keys [closed]

I was hoping someone might have some ideas on how to create a RESTful web API where models/entities are searchable by a foreign key. I see a a lot of tutorials where the functionality consist of ...
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1answer
2k views

Return values for CRUD methods?

I'm writing a basic web API in Java that does what almost all others do: take input, validate it, then do CRUD operations on the DB. I've written several APIs before, and I've pretty much already ...
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4answers
442 views

API design with references to root object

[Normally I post on StackOverflow but as this is more a design/theory question rather than a code question I'll give it a shot here] Most of my applications currently use a core object model that I ...
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2answers
888 views

Which is better API: table.add_row() or table.rows.add()?

I'm writing a library to create and manipulate Word .docx files in Python. In general, I take a lot of influence from the Microsoft VBA/C# API for Word in designing the API, figuring they've given it ...
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3answers
597 views

Is it OK to use email as an identifier in a RESTful URI?

I'm working with a team building a RESTful web service, and our current implementation utilizes the user's email as a unique identifier for the user resource, yielding URIs like the following: ...
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1answer
167 views

How does public API designer come to the conclusion what shall be provided for future and what not?

Often working with various jars and exploring the features specially in corner cases, I often realize and think that how is that they thought that it might be a useful scenario somewhere in future ...
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4answers
3k views

Why doesn't Java String have static string manipulation methods?

Why didn't Java designers create static versions of string manipulation methods in the java.lang.String class? The following methods are what I refer to, but the question can be extended to other ...
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2answers
1k views

Shoud I directly return a string message or rather a i18n key when dealing with JSON api?

Suppose a rest api returning this json: { "status" : "fail", "data" : { "title" : "A title is required" } } Since the client application would always adapt the error message, would it be ...
5
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1answer
327 views

Multiple APIs, or one API with a “chooser” parameter?

Say you have a web service, which adds business logic on top of a data source. What each API of this service pretty much looks like is - given a set of constraints, give me the items from the data ...
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2answers
819 views

How my website should use its own API?

Im building small web-service which will provide my users with data through API. Also, some data will be available right on my website. The question is about how to use my own API? Should my website ...
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2answers
4k views

Should I make up my own HTTP status codes? (a la Twitter 420: Enhance Your Calm)

I'm currently implementing an HTTP API, my first ever. I've been spending a lot of time looking at the Wikipedia page for HTTP status codes, because I'm determined to implement the right codes for ...
4
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2answers
484 views

What layer to introduce human readable error messages?

One of the things that I have never been happy with on any project I have worked on over the years and have really not been able to resolve myself is exactly at what tier in an application should ...
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1answer
347 views

Naming a predicate: “precondition” or “precondition_is_met”? [closed]

In my web app framework, each page can have a precondition that needs to be satisfied before it can be displayed to the user. For example, if user 1 and user 2 are playing a back-and-forth ...
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2answers
750 views

Is implementing an interface defined in a subpackage an anti-pattern?

Let's say I have the following: package me.my.pkg; public interface Something { /* ... couple of methods go here ... */ } and: package me.my; import me.my.pkg.Something; public class SomeClass ...
3
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1answer
705 views

Using Dynamic LINQ to get a filter for my Web API

We are considering using the Dynamic.CS linq-sample included in the "Samples" directory of visual studio 2008 for our WebAPI project to allow clients to query our data. The interface would be ...
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3answers
971 views

Chain-of-Command/Responsibility pattern for my simple API. A good idea?

I need to write a simple API for a project I'm working on. This API will be used internally to perform some server side actions that were triggered by AJAX calls. To make things easier for me, I ...
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10answers
3k views

API design: concrete vs. abstract approach - best practices?

When discussing APIs between systems (on the business level) there are often two different point of views in our team: some people prefer a more - lets say - generic abstract approach, other a ...
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1answer
527 views

API Caching Layer

Primer: We have a mobile app being served by an API (written in PHP). The main point of the app is to display products from a large items table in the database, in a multitude of different ...