APIs or It Didn’t Happen

Presenter: Tanya Vlahovic

11:20 am - 11:45 am

api design, api governance, api best practices


After dealing with SOAP-based legacy APIs for years, eBay launched new modern RESTful APIs for sellers and buyers. The principal goal was to design a set of interfaces that will meet business objectives, attract developers, replace the legacy APIs, and be long-lived. Still, they are powered by a model that is flexible and extensible enough to capture new opportunities that might come in the future. These APIs cover a subset of the overall marketplace capabilities and follow industry standards, well-established patterns, and best practices. They are classified into three contexts: buy, sell, and commerce. The API design is developer-centric and focused on exposing valuable eBay solutions to empower 3rd party developers. Sell APIs allow sellers to manage their eBay business end-to-end and at scale. Buy APIs enable purchasing eBay items from anywhere online, without visiting ebay.com. They allow partners to build experiences that give opportunities to their buyers to discover new products and find, compare, and purchase items they need and want. Commerce APIs include capabilities that span across both buying and selling activities. The API portfolio is simple, secure, and consistent. It is based on RESTful principles with standard implementations around cross-cutting concerns: error handling, security, behavioral tracking, and operational metrics. Vocabulary consistency across the APIs is achieved through accurate terminology and non-ambiguous use of nouns and verbs. Challenges that we faced are typical for all public API providers. Following consumer-centric approach, providing predictable and understandable names across capabilities, and trying not to reinvent the wheel on every new API is common to any API development. API standards and design process are true elements of success.