A well-designed API is thoroughly documented in a way that's easy to understand.
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When making an API assessment, two things can indicate bad design: Developers assume the code speaks for itself and don't take the time to explain their API.
Some people think great API code explains itself, but self-explanatory code is a myth. A developer should not assume the API design is so intuitive that documentation is unnecessary. If this assumption is made, organizations need to heed this red flag when making an API assessment.
If developers don't take the time to document the API they have created, then they probably haven't designed the API properly.
Great API design requires time and attention. The developer building the API needs to think about who will be using it and the different use cases.
A developer should take time to document and explain the API so its use becomes clear in an API assessment. The documentation should be an overview that encompasses the rationale behind the design, and it should include a reference guide that details the API's functions and the various edge cases it was built to handle.
The documentation should be the first thing to look at in an API assessment. If the documentation is easy to understand and explains how to use the API, that's the best sign for a great design. If the API is lacking documentation, it will be a red flag to potential poor API design.
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