Gareth Smith the API Architect for Microsoft Graph announced onstage at the All About the API Conference in Las Vegas that the company has just open-sourced its REST API Guidelines.
These guidelines represent a multi-year, cross-company, collaborative process aggregating the collective experience of hundreds of engineers designing, operating, and running global scale cloud services from across Microsoft; and listening to feedback on their APIs from customers and partners. They have attempted to incorporate those learnings along with industry best practices in the API space to create guidelines that API teams across Microsoft use on a daily basis.
The company said it hopes as a result of releasing these guidelines that:
- They will further stimulate feedback on their APIs and their approach to building them to better serve customers.
- Since they have benefitted from others in the API design community who have shared their guidelines, they want to contribute back. They believe that organizations of almost any size building APIs can benefit from having their own design guidelines. Many companies and even organizations such as the Whitehouse have already published their design guidelines and it’s their hope that by contributing theirs to the community conversation, they can add to the body of community knowledge and reusable content so that anyone can draw upon more collective knowledge when looking to set standards and guidelines within their organization.
Customers really were at the heart of this decision and they were saying clearly:
- It should be easier to get started with Microsoft APIs – Developers wanted to be able to run the curl tool against an API endpoint and get a human-readable result in just a few minutes.
- APIs for Microsoft cloud services should be consistent – Developers didn’t care that an API to work with an Azure virtual machine and an API to work with a user’s Office 365 documents were developed by different parts of the company, they were both from Microsoft and developers expected consistency.
He discussed this after going onto the company’s new initiative, Microsoft Graph which unifies the organizations disparate API strategy.
According to the company, The Microsoft REST API Guidelines, as a design principle, encourages application developers to have resources accessible to them via a RESTful HTTP interface. To provide the smoothest possible experience for developers on platforms following the Microsoft REST API Guidelines, REST APIs SHOULD follow consistent design guidelines to make using them easy and intuitive.
While speaking, Gareth explained Microsoft once focused only on business decision makers and developers. He said they now need to be drastically more inclusive – with a great API consumer experience which is much broader.
“Its not just developers but IT and ordinary end-users that need to use APIs,” he said.