No application without a library, no web site without an API?

When I wrote the first versions of Dynamite and Unshield (eight and nine years ago!) I decided from the start that each project had to be implemented in two parts: a library (hopefully reusable) and a command line tool using the library. I believe I learned this from cURL and libcurl, and I still consider it a best practice. For the purposes of this article, let’s call it the tool-library pattern.

I don’t do much C/C++ coding these days, even though I have been ogling Spindly – the C89 implementation of SPDY forked from libspdy by cURL author Daniel Stenberg.

For my current clients at work, I do Java coding or webMethods Integration Server development.

When I can spare some and energy for coding at home, it’s mostly web development in PHP, which brings me back to the tool-library pattern: Unfortunately I have not yet started using a smilar practice for my web development.

So what is the web site equivalence to the tool-library pattern? For a web site I mean that the “library” is a web service API that is consumed by the actual web site.  This is called First-Class APIs by Helgi Þormar Þorbjörnsson.

The API does not have to be public, but if it is, any other consumers of the API (for example a Smartphone app) will share the same API (or parts of it).

I’m currently rewriting my Swedish site for colloquial words and expressions from a hack (!) to a proper layered architecture. The next step will be to add new features and I hope to move these into an API.

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