OPEN TALK (API): Enhance Your API Development Process with Observability Tooling

Phillip Carter
Honeycomb, Senior Product Manager

Phillip is a product manager at Honeycomb, focusing on all things developer experience: the Honeycomb API, OpenTelemetry SDKs, and more! Prior to Honeycomb, Phillip worked at Microsoft and helped build the modern cross-platform .NET, multiple version of the F# language and F# tooling, and a smattering of other developer tooling experiences. He's a big fan of functional programming and snowboarding, so you can ask him about that stuff too!

API development is challenging. Effective API development involves understanding API usage patterns, managing user feedback, ensuring the system can handle heavy API usage, and making difficult tradeoffs to ensure that end-users, API users, and developers supporting the system are all happy. So, how should you do it?

In this talk, I'll cover some guidelines for API development that can help reign in these challenges: writing an effective API spec, understanding what to get out of an API review, and getting feedback from early adopters through a beta testing program.

I'll also make the case that incorporating telemetry and observability tooling into the process can help you achieve more confidence in what you're building as you're building it. By capturing wide events across your entire API surface area, you can do things like correlate usage of one API with another to see if people are doing what you would want them to do and understand who is pushing your systems to its limits without getting paged in the middle of the night about a problem in the wild.

Throughout the talk, I'll reference real-world examples of building APIs at Honeycomb. We've seen tangible benefits to utilizing observability tooling in the development process. After this talk, you should have the information you need to reap similar benefits.