- January 04, 2017

Restlet CTO & Founder Jerome Louvel is an expert in web APIs and REST. Over the past several years, he’s made a habit of reaching out to the growing community of API experts, and tracking interesting technology trends and information. He posts his interviews regularly to InfoQ.

Jerome’s most recent post, “How Zalando Delivers APIs with Radical Agility,” is a discussion with Thomas Fraustein, architect at Zalando. Zalando is Europe’s leading fashion e-commerce company and its Tech department has more than 1400 employees, largely software engineers and data scientists distributed over six main tech hubs in Germany, Ireland and Finland.

Fraustein talks about his team’s radical agility development organization that is optimized for an API-first approach. He explains what an API-first approach is, and provides tips on building good APIs for scalable microservice architectures where a large number of services are offered efficiently.

5 Keys to API DevOps Success

  • Radical agility relies on small engineering teams that are first class citizens and promotes concepts like autonomy, mastery, purpose and trust to create optimum conditions for teams to deliver innovative products at scale.
  • An API-first approach relies on designing the API outside of code first, and on getting early feedback on this design to improve the quality and align it with overall architecture guidelines.
  • API guilds are transversal teams that develop and maintain RESTful API guidelines and contribute to API reviews, helping keep a uniform look and feel when designing APIs at scale.
  • To bring changes quickly to a live system, have both the old and new services operating in parallel for a certain time and shifting the traffic progressively while carefully monitoring the operation.
  • Developing a culture around API design and API as a Product principle requires teams to learn how to accept code reviews without getting defensive, to give good constructive feedback that really provides value, not focusing on the details, but on things that really matter.