Chapter 13. Building a Robust Service

A robust service is one that feels secure and reliable to its users. Something that behaves unpredictably, sometimes gives incorrect results, and occasionally doesn’t respond at all, is not what a consumer wants to integrate into her own applications. This chapter will look at what makes a robust service, and some techniques for making services as reliable and useful as they can be, both when things are going well and when they are not.

The best services exhibit consistent, predictable behaviors. This approach of having as much “sameness” as possible works well for consumers, who start to feel at home. As they use the service, they become familiar with how it will work, and will be able to find their way around and deal with any errors they encounter more easily. Most importantly, those consumers will be able to achieve their goals, which should give both consumer and provider a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Consistency Is Key

As PHP developers, we know only too well how difficult it is to use an interface that is inconsistent. The number of manual entries that use the words “needle” and “haystack” with very little correlation between which one should come first in any given situation (and one function where they can be passed in either order!) is our reminder of how painful this can be!

In our own applications, we can do better, but it is important to pay attention to the bigger picture and the existing elements of an API while working on building ...

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