Chapter 11. Maintainable Web Services

When we build APIs, perhaps even more than web frontends, these projects should be able to live and thrive over a long period of time. With that in mind, it is prudent to build services that are intended to last and that give consideration to how they can be extended, maintained, and debugged if the need should arise. In Chapter 10 we saw a selection of great external tools that will accompany the work we do with APIs, but what about the APIs themselves? This chapter deals with the very important work of how to structure your API with great error handling and diagnostic output to make a project that can be picked up and maintained for as long as it is needed.

Sample API Application

This chapter is all about how to debug APIs and to do that, we’ll use an absolutely trivially simple API as our example. The idea is to show a very simple use case with a minimal amount of code to illustrate the techniques that can be scaled up and applied to your real-world applications.

The example API uses the Slim microframework as a lightweight way of quickly starting up a new application. This API is very simple and only has a handful of endpoints:

  • /, the root, just returns a list of endpoints.

  • /list can be accessed via GET in which case it returns a list of items, or via POST in which case it adds the supplied item to the list.

The code for this is in Example 11-1 and you’ll find the formatter just a little further along in Example 11-2. The only initial ...

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