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APIs Can Help You Take Control Of Any Situation.

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pkalapat
Cisco Employee

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With a burning desire to expand your horizons and achieve more, you have decided to Choose, not Snooze. You’ve set new goals, and you announced your goals in your trusted network to help you bind by the SLAs. You started collecting Metrics to Measure and Mend your ways, to track your progress. You finally feel like you are all set on the right track, and -- exactly when you feel you are in control – boom! You get thrown off by a person or situation that feels like it’s halting your progress. You’ve suddenly lost control of the situation. Your success is no longer in your hands. The balance of power has shifted to be dependent on the situation or person that’s imposing that roadblock on you.

Where do you go from here?

It is important to realize that you are still in charge, no matter what the situation is. You are always in control of your reaction to the situation.

It sounds like yet another motivational quote lurking around the Internet, so perhaps you are not too keen on paying much attention to this piece of advice. No worries. We understand the dose of skepticism only because we felt the same way until recently.

As technologists we spend most of our day jobs devising algorithms to build logical systems. Logical thinking becomes second nature to us. In fact, it becomes so natural that we automatically look for a logical explanation in any advice we’re given before we’ll feel like we’re ready to consume it. In the case of an out-of-control personal situation, then, we can use the analogies from API design principles as a proven logical framework to help us conquer the situation. There are numerous characteristics of API design that render themselves into perfectly shaping one’s behavioral outcomes to specific situations.  

How exactly are APIs going to help you deal with a personal situation?

Everyone who has consumed or created APIs would readily admit that any good API should be easy to use, hard to misuse, and must stand the test of time to easily evolve to future requirements.

The diagram below illustrates how these key tenets of API design can be invaluable guiding factors in shaping our reactions to various situations, including seemingly insurmountable situations.

To elaborate, your reactions to a situation – and, even more importantly, how you communicate them to others – can make or break a difficult situation. Viewing the situation from a logical standpoint rather than an emotional one can help you turn a “problem” into an opportunity – for growth, and for recognition as a savvy navigator of the work environment.

Take, for example, error handling. Server-side error handling and communication is critical in designing REST APIs. Client application could erroneously invoke Server APIs, so it’s crucial to provide clients with information to troubleshoot and resolve the issue. Error responses are extremely important to get right — they determine whether developers keep using your API or get so frustrated with clueless error responses that they abandon the API. On a similar analogy, if someone interacts with you in an offending manner, set reasonable expectations. Focus on precisely what has happened that has upset you and explain your reasoning. Help them understand what is a best way to interact with you. Actively listen to their response. If they are willing to engage you on it, be open to this. Perhaps there is something for you to learn. If they respond with anger or aggression, be gentle but firm in your position. Remember, this is an opportunity to stand up for your integrity and ensure that you don’t lose your own sanity -- just the way any well-designed service would invest in guarding its resources and stability against malicious client attacks.   

Your reaction to situation is the key to success.

What situations have you faced where API principles might have helped? How can they improve your interactions? Leave us a comment and let us know.

By:    

Pallavi Kalapatapu: Cisco Collaboration Architect/Technical Lead

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Tana Franko: Cisco Collaboration Technical Writer.

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