Hypermedia APIs vs. API Governance
Organizations that take their tech teams down the “Everything is a Web Service” (à la: Jeff Bezos and Amazon Web Services) architectural route, often and quickly find that such approach can lead to a number of problems:
- uncontrolled explosion of the number of services,
- duplication of code,
- services of varying degree of reliability,
- inability to evolve services due to tight coupling.
A common “solution” to such problems is to enact “API Governance”: a committee that decides a process for the management of services and oversees their creation (typically: by green-lightning some and banning others). Aside from the obvious problems with the “design by a committee” such centralized decision-making has a problem of becoming a bottleneck and slowing-down or killing innovation. Obviously, that is a result opposite to what we would hope for when moving an organization to a service-centric architecture.
I firmly believe that Hypermedia APIs, due to: their decoupled nature and focus on designing media types, rather than the endpoints and routes, have huge opportunity in providing more elegant solution to the complexity problem. Even at the very early stage of Public Media Platform (which is a Hypermedia API), we are seeing this potential and I am very curious to see how the potential materializes.