Google Research

Preliminary Analysis of REST API Style Guidelines

  • Lauren Murphy
  • Tosin Alliyu
  • Mary Beth Kery
  • Andrew Macvean
  • Brad A. Myers
8th Workshop on Evaluation and Usability of Programming Languages and Tools (PLATEAU'2017) at SPLASH 2017 (2017)


We studied a collection of 32 publicly published guidelines for designing RESTful Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), each from a different company, to identify similarities and differences to see if there are overall best practices across ten different topics. Our contribution includes providing a list of topics that API authors can reference when creating or evaluating their own guidelines. Additionally, we found that while some guidelines attempt to enforce consistency, simplicity, and intuitiveness in the APIs that use these guidelines, cross-guideline comparisons show a lack of consistency in some of the topics examined, and different interpretations of what is thought to be “simple” and “intuitive.”

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