Another best convenance for designing APIs is authoritative troubleshooting accessible for developers. This can be done through abiding allusive errors as able-bodied as by architectonics tooling.
What’s in an error? An absurdity can activity in abounding places forth your cipher path, from an allotment absurdity during an API request, to a business argumentation absurdity back a accurate article doesn’t exist, to a lower-level database affiliation error. Back designing an API, it is accessible to accomplish troubleshooting as accessible as accessible by systematically acclimation and allocation errors and how they are returned. Incorrect or cryptic errors are arresting and can abnormally affect acceptance of your APIs. Developers can get ashore and aloof accord up.
Meaningful errors are accessible to understand, unambiguous, and actionable. They advice developers to accept the botheration and to abode it. Providing these errors with capacity leads to a bigger developer experience. Absurdity codes that are machine-readable strings acquiesce developers to programmatically handle errors in their cipher bases.
In accession to these strings, it is advantageous to add longer-form errors, either in the affidavit or about abroad in the payload. These are sometimes referred to as human-readable errors. Alike better, personalize these errors per developer. For instance, with the Stripe API, back you use a analysis key in your alive mode, it allotment an absurdity such as:
To activate designing your arrangement of errors, you ability map out your backend architectonics forth the cipher aisle of an API request. The ambition of this is not to betrayal your backend architectonics but to assort the errors that appear and to analyze which ones to betrayal to developers. From the moment an API appeal is made, what are the analytical accomplishments that are taken to accomplish the request? Map out the assorted high-level categories of errors that activity during the advance of an API request, from the alpha of the appeal to any account boundaries aural your architecture.
Database affiliation issue
Backend account affiliation issue
Request fulfilled, but no after-effects were found
Business-related acumen to abjure admission to information
Required appeal ambit are missing
Combined appeal ambit are invalid together
OAuth accreditation are invalid for request
Token has expired
After alignment your absurdity categories throughout your cipher path, anticipate about what akin of advice is allusive for these errors. Some options accommodate HTTP cachet codes and headers, as able-bodied as machine-readable “codes” or added bombastic human-readable absurdity letters alternate in the acknowledgment payload. Keep in apperception that you’ll appetite to acknowledgment an absurdity acknowledgment in a architecture constant with your non-error responses. For example, if you acknowledgment a JSON acknowledgment on a acknowledged request, you should ensure that the absurdity is alternate in the aforementioned format.
You ability additionally appetite a apparatus to balloon up errors from a account aals to a constant architecture from your API output. For example, a account you depend on ability accept a array of affiliation errors. You would let the developer apperceive that article went amiss and that they should try again.
In best cases, you appetite to be as specific as accessible to advice your developers booty the actual aing advance of action. Other times, however, you ability appetite to choke the aboriginal affair by abiding article added generic. This ability be for aegis reasons. For example, you apparently don’t appetite to balloon up your database errors to the alfresco apple and acknowledge too abundant advice about your database connections.
As you activate to adapt your errors, you ability admit patterns about which you can actualize some automated messaging. For example, you ability ascertain the action for your API to crave specific ambit and to accept a library that automatically checks for these at the alpha of the request. This aforementioned library could architecture the bombastic absurdity in the acknowledgment payload.
You’ll appetite to actualize a way to certificate these errors about on the web. You can body this into your API description accent or affidavit mechanism. Anticipate about the assorted layers of errors afore autograph the documents, because it can become complicated to call assorted factors if there are abounding altered types of errors. You ability additionally appetite to accede application bombastic acknowledgment payloads to articulation to your accessible documentation. This is area you’ll accord developers added advice on the absurdity they accustomed as able-bodied as how to balance from it.
For alike added structured and abundant recommendations on allusive errors and botheration capacity for HTTP APIs, see RFC 7807.
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