I was a regular check-in with one of my favorite API service providers this week, talking about some of the new features they are rolling out in coming weeks, and they demonstrated for me why API definitions are so important in 2017. APIMATIC got their start deploying SDKs for your API but have quickly moved into providing API documentation, testing, Continuous Integration, and some additional stops that they have planned for release in coming months.
As I was sharing how happy I was with their movement into new areas of the API lifecycle and praising their agility when it comes to rolling out new features, they responded with:
"The credit goes to machine-readable descriptions. Once you have them, there are endless possibilities. Thanks for motivating us to support all the description formats in first place."
This is why being fluent in API definitions is so important to operating your API — or in APIMATIC's case, operating as an API service provider. There are an increasing number of API providers who support the importing and exporting of API definitions, but nobody has gone full API definition as APIMATIC has. They didn't just center their SDK, documentation, testing, and Continuous Integration solutions around API definitions; they exposed their API definition translation engine as a service called API Transformer, allowing anyone else to follow their lead.
When people first learn about API definitions, the 101 lessons usually center around API documentation, and maybe secondarily the generation of the server or client-side SDKs. However, API definitions are rapidly being used for every other stop along the lifecycle from design to deprecation, as well as the unknown future stops along the way that only become possible because all your API resources are well-defined and machine-readable. It is this agility and flexibility that I want to incentivize, helping companies be as effective as APIMATIC has been when it comes to delivering new API-driven solutions.