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How to Talk about APIs (APIDays Paris 2016)

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One of the more challenging aspects of working with APIs is that outside of your own little tech bubble, nobody actually knows what an API is - despite being hopelessly dependent on APIs for their day to day lives. So how do you talk about APIs to the masses of people who have no idea what they are? You're going to have to do it - you'll need to talk to your non-technical colleagues about it, many of whom you're entirely dependent upon to improve your API or get it out to the masses; there'll be potential customers out there for whom your API is the exact solution to the problem they're having and there's the people you meet who ask you what it is you do.

In this talk we'll discuss how overcome this huge challenge for all of us in the business of APIs, how to establish not just a clear ubiquitous language when talking about our APIs but clarity and consistency of content - making sure your developers, salespeople, support and marketing are all talking about your APIs in a way that is accessible, meaningful and useful to all concerned, and how that consistency of understanding can be the difference between the success or failure of your API.

Published in: Software
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How to Talk about APIs (APIDays Paris 2016)

  1. 1. How to Talk about APIs Andrew Seward Head of Product at Cronofy @MrAndrew
  2. 2. WE WILL COVER • Why APIs are hard to talk about • Why this is a problem • Tips for talking about APIs • The importance of establishing an accessible ubiquitous language @MrAndrew
  3. 3. APIs are hard to talk about @MrAndrew
  4. 4. EXERCISE Describe your API or technical product @MrAndrew
  5. 5. TECHNICAL PEOPLE THINK OF APIS LIKE
  6. 6. NON-TECHNICAL PEOPLE THINK OF APIS LIKE
  7. 7. Why are APIs hard to explain? @MrAndrew
  8. 8. DESCRIBE A CHOCOLATE BAR @MrAndrew
  9. 9. DESCRIBE AN API ? @MrAndrew
  10. 10. This is a big problem! @MrAndrew
  11. 11. You need non-technical people Sales Marketing Accounting Support Legal Product Owners Press Customers @MrAndrew
  12. 12. Tips for how to talk about APIs @MrAndrew
  13. 13. BAD OPENING LINES @MrAndrew
  14. 14. EXPLAINING YOUR API Describe the real world impact of using your product @MrAndrew
  15. 15. @MrAndrew EXPLAINING YOUR API Overview / Elevator Pitch Use case Use case Use case Use case It’s an API Easy to useSecure Well documented RESTful Authentication Endpoints Requests / Responses Errors Technical Implementation Detail The Product Differentiating features Basic features Instructions Nobody cares
  16. 16. GIVE A PRODUCT OVERVIEW …..…. allows …………..… to ……………… <Product> <target customers> <business activity> @MrAndrew
  17. 17. GIVE A PRODUCT OVERVIEW …..…. allows …………..… to ………..……………… Cronofy software providers connect to their users’ calendars @MrAndrew
  18. 18. DESCRIBE KEY FEATURES WITH EXAMPLES …for example, ……….. uses ……………………….. to ………………………. <API or feature> <Achieve real-world outcome> <existing customer> @MrAndrew
  19. 19. DESCRIBE KEY FEATURES WITH EXAMPLES …for example, ……….. uses ……………………….. to ………………………. The Oxford University Press Dictionary AP Show word definitions on Kindle Amazon @MrAndrew
  20. 20. Establish a ubiquitous language that everyone can understand @MrAndrew
  21. 21. THE LANGUAGE WE USE • Governs how we think about our APIs • Establishes the shared understanding within the organisation • Keeps all the output of the company consistent with the product • Keeps development rooted in real world customers and use cases • Makes it easier to work together @MrAndrew
  22. 22. WE COVERED • Why APIs are hard to talk about • Why this is a problem • Tips for talking about APIs • The importance of establishing an accessible ubiquitous language @MrAndrew

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