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 have to be that way. Companies can get consistency in their APIs through development standards as well as engineer training. If all developers adhere to one set of guidelines and standards, all your APIs will feel similar.
“What’s the benefit of that?” you might ask. “Why should I take the trouble to make similar APIs throughout the company? That’s a lot of work, time, and coordination.”
Great questions! The lessons learned from our efforts in creating clean, easy to use, and accessible APIs have been featured in the InformationWeek Strategic CIO section online. You can view our full story here.
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.