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May Contain Nuts:
The Case for API Labels

Cesare Pautasso
USI Lugano, Switzerland
http://www.pautasso.info
c.pautasso@ieee.org
@pautasso

Erik Wilde
CA Technologies, Zurich, Switzerland
http://dret.net/netdret/
@dret

Abstract

As APIs proliferate, managing the constantly growing and evolving API landscapes inside and across organizations becomes a challenge. Part of the management challenge is for APIs to be able to describe themselves, so that users and tooling can use descriptions for finding and filtering APIs. A standardized labeling scheme can help to cover some of the cases where API self-description allows API landscapes to become more usable and scalable. In this paper we present the vision for standardized API labels, which summarize and represent critical aspects of APIs. These aspect allow consumers to more easily become aware of the kind of dependency they are going to establish with the service provider when choosing to use them. API labels not only summarize critical coupling factors, but also can include claims that require to be validated by trusted third parties.

12.9.2018

Pick one: I will eat this food I will throw away this food It depends

P3P

Platform for Privacy Preferences Project
(W3C 2002)

What about APIs?

  1. API Discovery: How to trust provider claims?
  2. API Management: Which API do we depend on?
As a consumer, which Type of API Label would you look for?

Programmable Web

http://www.last.fm/api
Music
Last.fm
No
office@last.fm
http://www.audioscrobbler.net/wiki/
API Key, Shared Secret, Token
2.0
http://www.last.fm/api/tos
Yes
Web/Internet
Single purpose API
No
http://www.last.fm/api
REST
URI Query String/CRUD
JSON, XML
No
No
No

What about?

Manual Classification

  1. Manual Registration
  2. Manual Metadata Entry
  3. Manual Curation (Human Editors)

API Labels should be self-describing

API Labels should be certified

API Labels

  1. Human-readable (visual) format to summarize API descriptions
  2. Include hyperlinks to original specifications
  3. Machine processable for automated API landscape management

What about WSDL, WADL, OpenAPI?

Recipe for API Labels

(See the paper for details)

May Contain Nuts:
The Case for API Labels

  1. API Management: Is manual registration enough?
  2. API Discovery: How to trust descriptions?
  3. API Labels: Self-Describing, Standard and Certified API Classification

Audience Questions

  1. Are people really using Programmable Web to discover APIs?
  2. What's the business model for the API label certification authority?
  3. How do you define an extensible but standard set of label types and values?

Future Work

  1. How to use Schema.org as meta-data representation for API Labels?
  2. What's the label lifecycle?
  3. How often are labels checked? do they need an expiration? Can caching play a role? How to revoke labels?
  4. What's the relationship between the home document of the API and the labels?

References

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