Building Applications Programming Interfaces
for the Future

Most code can be revised, since whether it changes internally or not has little impact on outsiders. Applications Programming Interfaces (APIs) are different; they are the quintessential “outside face,” providing outside groups with the contract for interaction. In both technology and biology, internal mechanisms evolve; interfaces are conserved. If new and improved interfaces never supplant established interfaces, how can both new and improved interfaces continue to coexist? Release is merely the first step of a gradual, painful, never-ending process. Complete replacement is never achieved. We will examine this issue and ways to avoid "rebooting" APIs.

Even more fundamentally, there are a variety of issues which must be addressed when defining an API. Many teams bog down on questions of mere syntax (e.g... JSON vs. XML) rather than the far more fundamental questions of interface semantics (e.g., policy issues). In the long-term, questions of syntax have relatively little relevance. Questions of semantics (e.g., what constitutes a valid request, is a request proper, are there appropriate security and integrity measures) are far more critical.


Robert Gezelter has worked the design of protocols and interfaces since the late 1970's. He has been responsible for the architecture, design, and implementation of protocols and interfaces at the device, software, network, and applications levels, both locally on a particular system and remotely over a variety of network layers and stacks, including over HTTP/HTTPS and similar protocols. He has over 31 years of experience consulting on Information Technology matters and is a Contributing Editor of the “Computer Security Handbook, 6th Edition” (Spring 2014).

Mr. Gezelter has also spoken and published extensively on operating systems, networks, performance, security, tools, and similar areas. Since 1985, he has spoken worldwide for organizations including ACM, Connect (previously Encompass/DECUS), ISSA, ISACA, and IEEE. He was appointed to the IEEE Computer Society's Distinguished Visitors ProgramMr. Gezelter holds BA and MS degrees in Computer Science from New York University. He has been a Contributing Editor to the “Computer Security Handbook” since the 3rd Edition (1995), and contributed to the “Handbook of Information Security” (2005).

Mr. Gezelter is in private practice, with clients ranging from the Fortune 10 to small businesses, both locally and internationally. He maintains his offices in Flushing, New York. He can be contacted via

Sponsors: New York Software and Systems Process Improvement Network
Venue: ThoughtWorks
99 Madison Avenue (near 29th Street) New York, New York
Date & Time: Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 5:30 PM
Admission: Registration Required. Event Registration at:
Session Notes:
Picture of Robert Gezelter, CDP
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