API Design

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Revisiting Network I/O APIs: The netmap Framework:
It is possible to achieve huge performance improvements in the way packet processing is done on modern operating systems.

Today 10-gigabit interfaces are used more and more in datacenters and servers. On these links, packets flow as fast as one every 67.2 nanoseconds, yet modern operating systems can take 10-20 times longer just to move one packet between the wire and the application. We can do much better, not with more powerful hardware but by revising architectural decisions made long ago regarding the design of device drivers and network stacks.

by Luigi Rizzo | January 17, 2012


APIs with an Appetite:
Time for everyone’s favorite subject again: API design. This one just doesn’t get old, does it? Well, OK, maybe it does, but leave it to Kode Vicious to inject some fresh insight into this age-old programming challenge. This month KV turns the spotlight on the delicate art of API sizing.

Dear KV, This may sound funny to you, but one of my co-workers recently called one of my designs fat. My project is to define a set of database APIs that will be used by all kinds of different front-end Web services to store and retrieve data. The problem is that a one-size-fits-all approach can’t work because each customer of the system has different needs. Some are storing images, some are storing text, sound, video, and just about anything else you can imagine. In the current design each type of data has its own specific set of APIs to store, search, retrieve, and manipulate its own type of data.

by George Neville-Neil | March 9, 2007


API: Design Matters:
Why changing APIs might become a criminal offense.

After more than 25 years as a software engineer, I still find myself underestimating the time it will take to complete a particular programming task. Sometimes, the resulting schedule slip is caused by my own shortcomings: as I dig into a problem, I simply discover that it is a lot harder than I initially thought, so the problem takes longer to solve—such is life as a programmer. Just as often I know exactly what I want to achieve and how to achieve it, but it still takes far longer than anticipated. When that happens, it is usually because I am struggling with an API that seems to do its level best to throw rocks in my path and make my life difficult.

by Michi Henning | June 7, 2007


API Practices If You Hate Your Customers:
APIs speak louder than words.

Do you have disdain for your customers? Do you wish they would go away? When you interact with customers are you silently fantasizing about them switching to your competitor’s product? In short, do you hate your customers? In this article, I document a number of industry best practices designed to show customers how much you hate them. All of them are easy to implement. Heck, your company may be doing many of these already.

by Thomas A. Limoncelli | December 10, 2019