About Harold Madsen

Harold Madsen directs the APIs at Ancestry.com, the world's largest online family history resource with the mission to help everyone discover, preserve and share their family history. He has over 20 years’ experience in engineering and management and thrives on creating clean, easy to use and accessible APIs. Harold manages both internal and external APIs at Ancestry.com. His most recent endeavor involves leading the Company’s effort to redesign the internal APIs based on high internal standards and a unified presentation layer across all teams, stacks and departments.Harold enjoys hiking and camping in his free time and has hiked 10 mountain peaks and climbed one pyramid in Egypt. He is also distantly related to John Lackland, king of England of the Robin Hood legends.

Past Articles

External APIs: To Explode, or Not to Explode, That is the Question

Posted on September 29, 2014 in API, Mobile

Shakespeare might not approve of my taking liberties with his play Hamlet, though prince Hamlet was essentially saying the same thing as I was feeling last year: To be, or not to be, that is the question— Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, Or to take… Read more

Featured Article: Want Great APIs? Start With Training

Posted on June 3, 2014 in API

Ancestry.com, has awesome software engineers, products, and APIs. However, programmers are not always trained as API designers and when it comes to API development, consistency matters. As companies build their API programs using multiple teams, APIs tend to develop their own personalities and become radically different from one another. That’s a problem. Fortunately, it doesn’t… Read more

APIs Are Like Parenting

Posted on March 3, 2014 in API

I’ve presented at several conferences recently and one of the analogies that resonated with the audience was that of comparing API Design to parenting.  So, here’s the analogy: APIs Are Like Parenting… The year was 1966. My family was living in Ethiopia while my dad taught at the American university as a guest professor. I… Read more

Ancestry.com Gets Hands-On With API Design at RootsTech Innovators Summit

Posted on February 3, 2014 in API, Technology Conferences

When it comes to API interface design, do your software engineers have a design touch or feel? Many engineers do not. Without training and proper aesthetic feel, your APIs might end up quite awkward or even a bit messy. Good API design is something that most engineers are not born with but with proper training,… Read more

Ancestry.com to present at API Strategy & Practice Conference

Posted on October 21, 2013 in API, Technology Conferences

Designing easy-to-use APIs is not always an easy thing to do.  In fact, some developers feel guilty taking time from coding for design – especially spending design time on such things as method names, request and response objects or service names.  If you don’t take the time upfront then you are destined to deal with… Read more