Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

The Great API Redesign (APIStrat 2017)

The Great API Redesign (APIStrat 2017)

Redesigning a public web service API is a major undertaking: 3 years, thousands of hours of work, new clients, new documentation, a series of releases... This is the story of the DNSimple API v2, a project that started with a single, innocuous GitHub pull request with the title "Proposal for versioned API" in December 2013, and which came to a successful general availability launch at the end of 2016. Simone will explain some of the decisions that the team took over the last 3 years that shaped the development of the API as well as challenges the team faced, and provide you with tips and techniques that may help you in your next major API project. Finally, the important question: what’s next?


Simone Carletti

November 01, 2017


  1. The Great API Redesign Simone Carle,, DNSimple

  2. None
  3. None
  4. None
  5. "This PR is a first step towards API versioning and

    using a dedicated hostname for API."
  6. "This PR is a first step towards API versioning and

    using a dedicated hostname for API." Dec 28, 2013
  7. Dec 28, 2013 v0 API v0

  8. API v0 • Same hostname as website • No versioning

    • No metrics • Shared Rails controllers
  9. It worked ™

  10. GET https://dnsimple.com/domains.json GET https://dnsimple.com/domains.json

  11. Jan 14, 2014 Dec 28, 2013 v0 v1 API v1

  12. API v1 • Introduce hostname api.dnsimple.com • Introduce path-based versioning

    • SGll uses the same Rails controllers • Simple transiGon through minimal changes
  13. GET https://api.dnsimple.com/v1/domains

  14. Why a separate hostname? • Easily flag requests as API

    requests • Improved error handling due to clear indicaGon of what is an API call • Adds the ability to extract API code from controllers • Provides easier scaling
  15. Why path-based versioning? The approach I followed is simple. May

    be not the most restful, but it's the one very commonly adopted that will also allow us to switch to a mime-based approach (in case we want to follow that route in the future).
  16. Why path-based versioning? • API version is embedded in the

    path and it prefixes the URL • Everything in the URL is easily visible in logs • Easiest implementaGon for both producGon and consumpGon • Hi,ng path-based versioned APIs with a browser is easy • New versions increase the major number • Path and verb changes can be introduced at major version
  17. Jan 14, 2014 Dec 28, 2013 v0 v1 API v1

  18. Jan 14, 2014 Dec 28, 2013 v0 v1 v2 API

  19. Separate ApplicaDon • Use of a separate (sub)applicaGon • No

    longer Gghtly coupled to the Rails controllers hWp:/ /hanamirb.org hWp:/ /confreaks.tv/videos/railsconf2016-developing-and-maintaining-a-pla\orm-with-rails-and-lotus
  20. the Roadmap • MulG-account • Reusable shared business logic •

    Response serializaGon • PaginaGon, SorGng and Filtering • AuthenGcaGon • Rate limiGng • Webhooks • API clients
  21. None
  22. None
  23. May 2, 2016 API clients Java PHP May 2, 2016

    Sep 6, 2016 Sep 13, 2016 hWps:/ /slidr.io/weppos/using-go-to-guide-api-design-decisions-dotgo-2016
  24. API clients • Developing clients gets easier with each new

    client • Common design paWerns emerge • Shared HTTP fixtures • We built a foundaGon for API clients development hWps:/ /blog.dnsimple.com/2017/01/api-client-tesGng-with-hWp-fixtures/
  25. PrioriDes • Gathered metrics on v1 endpoint usage • PrioriGzed

    implementaGon based on usage
  26. Jan 14, 2014 Mar 9, 2016 (Beta) Dec 13, 2016

    (GA) Dec 28, 2013 v0 v1 v2 API v2
  27. Stats • 717 Days from "Start" to "Finish" • 3

    (almost) full-Gme team members out of 11 total, with a collaboraGve effort from the enGre DNSimple team • 4 official API clients, with 2 more under development • 75 API methods currently available (*) • 251 Dckets across 7 major milestones • ~423 API related support Dckets handled in the last year • ~1934 commits across the 4 API clients and applicaGon
  28. What's next? • Facilitate transiGon to API v2 • Implement

    new methods (e.g. cerGficate, pricing) • Adopt a formal language to describe the API
  29. Open API hWps:/ /www.openapis.org/

  30. Lessons • Simple transiGon through minimal changes • Be a

    producer and a consumer • Provide official clients (and/or contribute) • Measure decisions • Invest into the API
  31. Thanks! DNSimple dnsimple.com @dnsimple Simone CarleS simonecarle,.com @weppos hWps:/ /slidr.io/weppos

  32. None