HTTP API Design Guide

HTTP API Design Guide

This guide describes a set of HTTP+JSON API design practices, originally extracted from work on the Heroku Platform API.

This guide informs additions to that API and also guides new internal APIs at Heroku. We hope it’s also of interest to API designers outside of Heroku.

Our goals here are consistency and focusing on business logic while avoiding design bikeshedding. We’re looking for a good, consistent, well-documented way to design APIs, not necessarily the only/ideal way.

We assume you’re familiar with the basics of HTTP+JSON APIs and won’t cover all of the fundamentals of those in this guide.

Git branch names support forward slashes

Oh. My. God!  I’ve been using git for years now and I only learned this today – git branch names support forward slashes! How awesome is that?!  You can do things like this:

$ git checkout -b feature/foobar

Grouping branches like this is much easier indeed!

I came across this while reading CakeDC’s CakePHP Plugin Standard.  Searching around to find more details, I see that there are a few potential issues with this naming convention, as tools occasionally break (composer, IDEs, etc).   However, these problems are fixed by tool vendors.  Looking into it even further, I found the following description in the book “Version Control with Git: Powerful tools and techniques for collaborative software development” (Google Books preview):

Dos and Don’ts in Branch Names

Branch names must conform to a few simple rules.

  • You can use the forward slash (/) to create a hierarchical name scheme.  However, the name cannot end with a slash.
  • The name cannot start with a minus sign (-).
  • No slash-separated component can begin with a dot (.).  A branch name such as feature/.new is invalid.
  • The name cannot contain two consecutive dots (..) anywhere.
  • Further, the name cannot contain:
    • Any space or other whitespace character
    • A character that has special meaning to Git, including the tilde (~), caret (^), colon (:), question mark (?), asterisk (*), and open bracket ([).
    • An ASCII control character, which is any byte with a value lower than \040 octal, or the DEL character (\177 octal)

These branch name rules are enforced by the git check-ref-format plumbing command, and they are designed to ensure that each branch name is both easily typed and usable as a filename within the .git directory and scripts.

So, as you can see, you aren’t even limited to the single forward slash. Even things like this work just fine:

$ git checkout -b Leonid/ideas/feature/foobar

But remember, just because you CAN do something, doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD.  Have a look at this StackOverflow discussion about git branch naming best practices for more understanding on what you should and shouldn’t do.

The Architecture of Open Source Applications

The Architecture of Open Source Applications

Architects look at thousands of buildings during their training, and study critiques of those buildings written by masters. In contrast, most software developers only ever get to know a handful of large programs well—usually programs they wrote themselves—and never study the great programs of history. As a result, they repeat one another’s mistakes rather than building on one another’s successes.

Our goal is to change that. In these two books, the authors of four dozen open source applications explain how their software is structured, and why. What are each program’s major components? How do they interact? And what did their builders learn during their development? In answering these questions, the contributors to these books provide unique insights into how they think.

If you are a junior developer, and want to learn how your more experienced colleagues think, these books are the place to start. If you are an intermediate or senior developer, and want to see how your peers have solved hard design problems, these books can help you too.

There is also the fourth book in the works – 500 lines or less.

Management by wandering around

Management by wandering around

The term management by wandering around (MBWA), also management by walking around, refers to a style of business management which involves managers wandering around, in an unstructured manner, through the workplace(s), at random, to check with employees, or equipment, about the status of ongoing work. The emphasis is on the word wandering as an impromptu movement within a workplace, rather than a plan where employees expect a visit from managers at more systematic, pre-approved or scheduled times. The expected benefit is that a manager, by random sampling of events or employee discussions, is more likely to facilitate improvements to the morale, sense of organisational purpose, productivity and total quality management of the organization, as compared to remaining in a specific office area and waiting for employees, or the delivery of status reports, to arrive there, as events warrant in the workplace.

Who knew that was a thing?