From AWS Amazon Web Services

  • APIs are Forever: never delete or change an API application programming interface
    , otherwise you will break the businesses that build on top of it
  • Never Break Backward Compatibility: Modifications/improvements are fine but shouldn’t break legacy calls the API
  • Work Backwards from Customer Use Cases: DO NOT design API starting with what the engineers think is good. Instead, work backwards from user’s use cases and make a minimal viable API. Simplicity is a feature - it makes it easy to build on top of (both library code & user code)
  • Self-Describing & Clear, Specific Purpose: thorough up-to-date docs are NOT enough. APIs themselves should also be intuitive at first glance
  • Explicit & Well-Documented Failure Modes: faulty input parameters, security considerations - not just what your API does, but also how it fails
  • Avoid Leaking Implementation Details at All Costs: underlying implementation details should not become part of the API itself lest customers build on top to rely on these non-essential details