People Seem to Want Lego Kits and Not a Bucket of Lego Blocks When It Comes To Doing APIs

March 5, 2018

While I wish everyone saw the modular potential of APIs and microservices like I do, I’ve come to the realization that most people are just interested in ready to go kits that walk them through every detail of doing APIs, rather than actually playing, learning, evolving, and learning to be productive with a big bucket of APIs. I’m not just focusing on business users here, I am talking about a significant portion of the developers I come across, who really don’t seem that interested in learning to apply API concepts, and understanding when and where to use them, they just want a set of instructions that walk them through each step of deploying an API.

I actually am a proponent of there being more boxed, lego style API kits that teach you how to build the product API, task API, press release API, and other common implementations. Robust, detailed, ready-to-go API implementations that would walk people through each and every step of defining, designing, deploying, managing, monitoring, testing, and documenting their API. I feel like this would significantly help folks think through what are healthy API practices, and be introduced to different ways of thinking around APIs. However, I do not want people to become reliant on only being able to operate within this paradigm, and not actually be able to fix, evolve, and deliver their own custom API solutions, using the healthy practices they are being introduced to.

People seem to just want shortcuts, and things done for them. People want the solutions packaged and delivered to their doorstep. They seem unable to be able to find the solutions on their own, or even be able to absorb a lesson delivered via a packaged solution. I’m not sure what the cure for this condition is. It is hard to tell whether it is vendor induced, or (would be) API provider induced. Have people been conditioned by vendors to just be spoon fed solutions? Or are people just lazy, and not interested in truly learning, truly tackling their technical debt, and finding a new path forward? IDK. I’m feeling like it is probably a little of both, feeding off of each other.

I get why the pre-built, ready-to-go Lego API kit is appealing. Everyone wants to have a full-blown millennium falcon when they are done working on a project, and not some blocky mcsquare flying machine. However, it takes time before you are able to deliver at that scope. You need to practice building smaller implementations, and yes playing with other pre-built kits, doing some reverse engineering, in addition to some forward engineering. I’m guessing this all comes down to if you truly want to know and understand, or if you are just looking for solutions. If you are just looking for solutions, I’m guessing in 5 years you’ll be eagerly buying the next solution for the API mess you are putting into place currently. It is the natural evolution of how technology gets bought and sold.

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