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Re: Fwd: Best Practice 26.docx

From: Annette Greiner <amgreiner@lbl.gov>
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 2015 13:23:39 -0800
To: public-dwbp-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <566F335B.9000900@lbl.gov>
Thanks for working to improve this.

While I like the idea of explaining what an API is for those who may be 
less familiar, we should be careful about how we define it. The main 
alternatives to an API for web developers are downloads and scraping, 
which are actually pretty simple but tedious approaches. I think the 
value of an API for web development is not so much a matter of greater 
simplicity but in having actual programmatic access, or hooks into the 
data. The point is that an API is designed to explicitly enable 
programming, whereas reusing without that requires grabbing more than 
you want and munging the data. The last sentence of the first paragraph 
suggests that REST is the only way to make an API, which is not the 
case. Let's leave that argument out of this BP, as it's handled elsewhere.

The second paragraph now reiterates the simplicity concept, which I 
don't think is accurate or particularly helpful. As for protecting 
against resource-intensive subsetting, I'm not sure what you mean. The 
alternatives to using an API are not about subsetting and are not 
particularly resource intensive; subsetting is actually a virtue of 
using an API, because it allows one to download only the data needed 
(something I've been pushing for a BP about for a long time, BTW). 
Regarding other transport protocols than HTTP, I'm not sure what that 
has to do with the intended outcome.

As for the third paragraph, again, I don't think we should get into the 
how-to-implement-REST discussion here. There is another BP for that. 
Also, the suggestion that creating a web API for relational data is 
"elementary programming" whereas RDF "can be provided with more 
sophisticated APIs" strikes me as potentially a bit insulting to devs 
who work with relational data.

I'm curious what the goal of this reworking was. Perhaps we can find 
other ways to address the underlying issues.

On 12/11/15 7:08 AM, Phil Archer wrote:
> This should be in the mail archive (Peter used an alternative e-mail 
> address which is why it bounced)
> -------- Forwarded Message --------
> Subject: Best Practice 26.docx
> Date: Fri, 11 Dec 2015 14:43:55 +0000
> From: Peter.Winstanley@gov.scot
> To: public-dwbp-wg@w3.org
> CC: phila@w3.org, laufer@globo.com
> I have tried make some steps to improve the BP #26 from 
> http://w3c.github.io/dwbp/bp.html#useanAPI
> Hope it is a helpful move.  It you think the direction is right then 
> let me know and I'll complete.
> Peter
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Annette Greiner
NERSC Data and Analytics Services
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Received on Monday, 14 December 2015 21:24:41 UTC

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