I’ve got 99 problems and an API is one

So, we’ve been talking about some pretty technical stuff this semester, and while I certainly consider myself a denizen of the internet, I acknowledge my lack of technological savvy on a regular basis. If computing doesn’t have something to do with video games, videos, social media, or using an already established application, then I find myself floundering in understanding. This is pretty funny since my first career track as an undergraduate was in Computer Science (followed by Engineering).

It’s been a long, long time since my programming days, and it feels like I’ve easily forgotten more than I ever learned, but in thinking about the projects that we’ve been assigned in this class, it seems to me that a more robust understanding of APIs, how to use them, and how they work would be important for a lot of us. Taking my own conceptual project for instance: I’m sure that an API would integrate the timeline function into the mapping function, and the simultaneously inform the rendering function so that the information could be projected into a video format. Now, I recognize, after reading a bit here and a bit there about APIs, how to program them, how to conceptualize them, and how they should function, that the world of APIs is beyond my minimal ability to comprehend language, and that any foray into that field on my behalf would have to come from hands on learning. Since that’s not really a possibility at this point, I think that instead, I would like to talk about collaboration insofar as APIs are concerned. How do I inform a computer scientist or a programmer what I want, how I want it to work, and make it complex enough to do all the things I want, but simple enough that something doesn’t get lost in the communicative effort (understanding that sometimes it’s hard to even communicate ideas in a succinct format, let alone in a format that’s compatible with programming – I certainly remember that logic and English don’t necessarily mesh well)? If the mystery to me that is API is not as mysterious as I once thought, then how can I go about using these tools myself?

The readings that I did were interesting, but abstract from where I’m sitting, and I feel like this would be a point wherein collaboration would be best, which is fine to me, but I’m still interested in both how to use/build APIs and in how to convey what I want included in an API in a way that’s meaningful to the programmer that I would end up working with.

Readings: HowStuffWorks, Quickstudy

Video: Google Tech Talks (there is a slideshow available for this that is Googleable, but I found that devoid of the context that the speaker provides it was meaningless to me.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “I’ve got 99 problems and an API is one

  1. I absolutely love your blog titles.

  2. Pingback: I’ve got 99 problems and an API is one | Clio Wired

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