To Create An Evolvable API, Stop Thinking About URLs

The basics of API design

If you’re spending your time discussing if URLs should be in the singular /restaurant/:id or plural /restaurants/:id, then that means you’re not creating evolvable APIs.

.. The server may ask for all the fields in the first request, or they may acknowledge some fields and ask for the remaining ones in another request. The most important bit here is that the server responds to each interaction with the same interface.

.. This way you have no coupling between one specific URL and the response. One team can develop the client, and another team can develop the server; they only need to agree on the communication format. There’s no need to deploy both client and server at the same time in a specific order!

In Domain Driven Design, you model the architecture of the code with how the people from your business operate. With an evolvable API, it’s the same. You model the asynchronous communication between machines exactly how people in your business communicate.

Accessing a (new-style, public) Google sheet as JSON

If you want to use the latest API (v4), you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Generate a spreadsheets API key (see instructions below).
  2. Make your sheet publicly accessible.
  3. Use a request of the form:
    https://sheets.googleapis.com/v4/spreadsheets/SPREADSHEET_ID/values/RANGE?key=API_KEY

You’ll then get a clean JSON response back:

{
  "range": "Sheet1!A1:D5",
  "majorDimension": "ROWS",
  "values": [
    ["Item", "Cost", "Stocked", "Ship Date"],
    ["Wheel", "$20.50", "4", "3/1/2016"],
    ["Door", "$15", "2", "3/15/2016"],
    ["Engine", "$100", "1", "30/20/2016"],
    ["Totals", "$135.5", "7", "3/20/2016"]
  ],
}

Note that if you want to specify the entire contents of a page, an identifier such as Sheet1 is perfectly valid.

See Basic Reading for more information.


As of v4 API, all requests must be accompanied by an identifier (e.g. API key):

Requests to the Google Sheets API for public data must be accompanied by an identifier, which can be an API key or an access token.