Since 2010 I've worked as a freelancer, consultant, Head of API, and CTO, for several API-centric technology startups.
At Ride, I was given the chance to work with amazing developers, including several Rails API contributors. We built an event-driven architecture with several REST APIs and a few RPC ones, and it was here I learned the benefits of REST being a state machine over HTTP.
Then at WeWork, I used my experience to help educate developers, define standards for API design and architecture, and work on open-source tooling for OpenAPI, JSON Schema, and HTTP. WeWork had 50+ APIs, and here I have had a chance to learn a lot about keeping distributed applications performant. Timeouts, retries, circuit breakers, keep alive settings, and HTTP caching specifically.
I try to turn all of this learning into books, videos, and articles, so others can learn easily things I've had to learn the hard way.
46 Articles from Phil Sturgeon
Creating OpenAPI from HTTP Traffic
Jan 01, 2022
If you want to get into API design-first, but awkwardly already have a bunch of APIs with no OpenAPI, use a HTTP proxy like Akita to create OpenAPI from your HTTP traffic!
Why Show Users Garbage API Errors?
May 14, 2021
What happens in your client application when an API error pops up beyond the common cases of Logged Out, Not Found, etc.? Do you vomit random API error codes and exception class names all over your end users screens, pointlessly confusing the hell out of them?
There's No Reason to Write OpenAPI By Hand
Mar 30, 2020
Sometimes you see people complaining about OpenAPI (formerly Swagger), saying they don't want to to write out a whole bunch of YAML/JSON by hand. Other than disability, there's no reason you need to do that, and there hasn't be for a long time. Whether you pick code-first or design-first, you've got some options.
OpenAPI v3.1 and JSON Schema
Feb 03, 2020
JSON Schema and OpenAPI will no longer have minor differences in the schema object, but will finally be compatible from OpenAPI v3.1.
Automated Style Guides for REST, GraphQL and gRPC
Nov 05, 2019
Create API style guides using linting tools for any API paradigm. Avoid "API Governance" teams sitting there reviewing every single API change that comes through, and automate that menial task away to the bots.
API Design-First vs Code First
Oct 14, 2019
With API descriptions rising in popularity, the main question I hear folks asking about is "API Design-first" or "code-first". This is a bit of a misleading question because these are not two unique things, there are a few variants.
Testing API Client Applications
Jun 09, 2019
Got some code that talks to a Web API and want to make sure it works properly? Here's a bunch of options you can use to mock external dependencies.
Server-Side Validation with API Descriptions
May 25, 2019
Why waste a bunch of time duplicating validation rules in your application code and API description documents, then waste even more time trying to make sure these two disparate sources match up? Save a bunch of time and avoid mismatch bugs by using your API description as production code, so you have one source of truth, and your existing test suite can do the job of making sure things work.
REST and Hypermedia in 2019
May 17, 2019
A modern day look at the Richardson Maturity model, and insight into how the various layers of abstraction REST provides can help API Developers working in HTTP for various scenarios.
Creating Good API Errors in REST, GraphQL and gRPC
Apr 16, 2019
Dealing with the Happy Path™ in an API is pretty easy, but creating useful error messages can be tricky at first.
Resolving Overloaded Terms for API Specifications… Descriptions… Contract?
Apr 04, 2019
Specifications, Descriptions, Definitions, Spec Files, Contracts, ugh… they’re the same thing!
Caching is hard, draw me a picture
Mar 28, 2019
Another guest post from our friend Darrel Miller, this time explaining caching.
Organizing your AsyncAPI documents
Mar 01, 2019
Split your AsyncAPI documents into multiple files with $ref.
Optimizing for the Speed of Light
Feb 24, 2019
Written by Darrel Miller, on his blog Bizcoder.com
Taking a Timeout from Poor Performance
Jan 03, 2019
In a system-oriented architecture, it is crucial to communicate with other systems, sometimes synchronously. Broker patterns, proxies, etc., or even just a remote procedure being triggered synchronously, like confirming an email has been sent successfully.
WeWork’s API Specification Workflow
Aug 28, 2018
One source of truth: API Specifications, and get docs, mocks, testing, and more.
Common Hypermedia Patterns with JSON Hyper-Schema
Jul 28, 2018
But there are a few objectively terrible ways to handle it.
Govern your APIs with Speccy
Jul 23, 2018
The last year has involved a lot of teaching engineers how to use OpenAPI, with the day job growing from a startup to a sizeable…
Surviving Deprecations to Resources and Properties on Other APIs
Jun 03, 2018
Deprecation, is the art of telling people to stop using that thing, because that thing is probably going away at some point. Even if there…
Picking the right API Paradigm
May 21, 2018
This article provides a decision flow diagram for selecting the “approach” to use for your next API.
What is API Rate Limiting All About?
May 16, 2018
Learn what rate limiting is all about, and how you can train your HTTP client code to handle being limited.
API Evolution for REST/HTTP APIs
May 02, 2018
API Evolution is making a comeback these days, and REST advocates have been begging folks to use it for years. Let's learn how.
Writing Documentation via Contract Testing
Apr 19, 2018
Part of my day job is trying to get folks to write API documentation, so the hordes of new developers joining the company on a weekly basis…
Getting started with JSON Hyper-Schema: Part 2
Apr 04, 2018
Let's learn a bit more about JSON HyperSchema, building on the foundation in part one, with resource representations, arbitrary request bodies, HTTP headers, and HTTP methods.
OpenAPI and JSON Schema Divergence
Mar 30, 2018
This article is going to explain OpenAPI and JSON Schema divergence, which I’ve been calling the subset/superset/sideset problem. There are some plans to fix it, but they're a way off.
Creating API Specifications from Bulls**t
Mar 09, 2018
So you are using design-first for new APIs, but what about old APIs? Play catchup with a few sneaky methods.
The Many Amazing Uses of JSON Schema: Client-side Validation
Feb 05, 2018
These days type systems are all the rage in APIs, so lets see how HTTP APIs can use JSON Schema for client-side validation.
Understanding RPC, REST and GraphQL
Jan 04, 2018
Every API is following some sort of paradigm, whether it knows it or not. Learn the differences, for when you talk to other APIs.
Getting started with JSON Hyper-Schema
Dec 22, 2017
JSON Hyper-Schema is a format for describing an API. You can automate a lot with a document that describes your API.
Ruby Users: Be Wary of Net::HTTP
Dec 14, 2017
We discovered some fairly interesting behaviors in Net::HTTP recently, and figured we better share them.
Keeping Documentation Honest
Nov 21, 2017
We've been talking a lot about the importance of documentation and API descriptions, Now let’s look at how we can ensure those descriptions are actually telling the truth!
Making the Most of JSON:API
Oct 30, 2017
If you absolutely positively have to use JSON:API for your API, here's how to make it work well for you.
Let's Stop Building APIs Around a Network Hack
Oct 21, 2017
JSON:API has been one of the most popular standards for API development for a while now. It was conceived in 2013, battled through some...
Speeding Up APIs/Apps/Smart Toasters with HTTP Response Caching
Oct 12, 2017
Caching is a huge topic, and there’s a lot of different types of caching. No one type of cache is going to suite all needs and cover…
API Versioning Has No "Right Way"
Sep 26, 2017
But there are a few objectively terrible ways to handle it.
Turning Contracts into Beautiful Documentation
Sep 22, 2017
Continuing on the topic of contracts — metadata that describes your data — it makes sense to see what easy early wins you can make from…
Commit to API Contracts
Sep 16, 2017
When building and maintaining a Web API, it's surprisingly common for the "I" (interface) part to be overlooked. Often new functionality is…
Why Do People Dislike JSON?
Aug 26, 2017
People seem to be moaning about JSON when they really just are upset with unspecified data.
Partials: Happy Compromise Between Customization and Cacheability
Aug 13, 2017
With endpoint-based APIs (REST, RESTish, SOAP, RPC, AJAX-ish junk, etc.) you get to choose if you want increased likelihood of network…
You Might Not Need GraphQL
Do you like the look of GraphQL, but have an existing REST/RPC API that you don’t want to ditch? Here's how to get those benefits without rewriting it.
GraphQL vs REST: Caching
Outlining the approach the two API paradigms take to caching.
Representing State in REST and GraphQL
Learn how an API can become a state machine, with different actions appearing for resources in different states.
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