The Little Manual of API Design


This morning, a reference to a short and well written PDF written by an engineer at Trolltech/Nokia came through my feed reader. It’s only 33 pages long, and every one of those pages has solid guidelines, recommendations, and examples (both good and bad) of considerations you should keep in mind when developing an API of any kind:

This manual gathers together the key insights into API design that were discovered through many years of software development on the Qt application development framework at Trolltech (now part of Nokia). Whendesigning and implementing a library, you should also keep other factors in mind, such as efficiency and ease of implementation, in addition to pure
API considerations. And although the focus is on public APIs, there is no harm in applying the principles described here when writing application code or internal library code.
I don’t think that anyone would disagree with the Apple Pie and Motherhood list of ‘Characteristics of Good APIs’ that are listed: