As we create more and more APIs and deploy updates for the ones we have in production, eventually we’ll run into the need to shut down one or more of them. The process of turning off our API means addressing several important issues in order to ensure data integrity and operational safety, including these:

  • Communicating the API shutdown
  • Placing code in the public domain
  • Publishing the interface design as open source
  • Making consumer data recoverable
  • Marking our API 410 GONE

Communicating the API shutdown

Before we shut things down, we need to make sure we’ve notified all the API consumers we can. For internal APIs, this is often done through company-wide email lists, wiki pages, or other shared communications. For externally facing APIs, we’ll need to send emails and/or update other public spaces (for example, support forums).

In these communications, we should indicate:

  1. Why the API is closing down.
  2. When the API will close.
  3. What alternatives are available for API consumers who may still want to access their data and/or perform similar work.

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