The art of making great APIs has become a key skill in a technology organization. Whether it’s the protocol or the naming scheme or the functions or even the error logging, the API has a UX of it’s own. Make a bad developer UX and you will have fewer technology partners.
You can see great API thinking in companies like Google and Salesforce. (Just to name a couple) They spent enormous time on them including robust documentation. The result is a huge developer base. On the flip side is Microsoft, who once owned the developer community, now has limited APIs for many of their cloud products including Microsoft Office 365.
When you have great APIs, then partners will be creative and come up with value-adds that make people want your product. When you don’t then you are left alone in the market place.
One mistake I made was not to insist on REST as the format for our APIs. We use SOAP instead. This is getting fixed now, but we chose the wrong technology many years ago. That has yields many years of lost developer opportunities. Well, Captain Hindsight told me that. And I should have listened…in hindsight of course.
Spend time on your APIs and you will reap the benefits.
By the way. I propose the year 2020 to be the Year of Hindsight. Makes sense, doesn’t it?