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developing APIs with HTML

I feel like the markup conversations are reawakening a bit. Some of them are familiar, but I keep seeing new twists in them.

Jon Moore gave a talk last November emphasizing the importance of hypermedia in hypermedia APIs. The talk is more a telling of history to leave us with a challenge than a demonstration of API creation in HTML, but it's well-worth pondering. (Talking with Jon Moore, it's clear that he has actually written, and worked with groups writing, successful APIs with HTML.)

Hypermedia conversation has a way of making me nostalgic for XLink. I can't quite jump to building hypertext affordances into XML itself, but this talk makes me think it's a better idea than I used to think.

"A story of a wondrous place..." (Start here if you want the full storytelling.)


"various flavors of JSON, one flavor for each company that was building an API on top of it, and the fall was complete." (11:59)


"HTML... still the most affordance-rich expressive language for dynamically describing state machine transitions. And everyone still understands it.... perhaps more easily than they can read API documentation. But most importantly, when you develop an API with HTML, it induces a state machine-oriented way of thinking.

When people develop in HTML, they think of web sites, and those are inherently state machine and use case oriented." (13:08)

Bonus: Mike Amundsen on reusable APIs:


There's lots more there too. It's quite a panel!

Simon St.Laurent

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