Platform APIs weeknotes, 5 August 2020

OK so it wasn’t me; this past week has also felt slow, and that has been highlighted by the team in our retro yesterday. We’ve had quite a few of the team off over the last week; not a bad thing in itself, as people need a break. But coupled with underestimating the size of some of the tasks, it meant that we didn’t do as much as we had planned for.

That said, we have achieved Something Big. Ben has completed the LIST endpoint for the Resident Information Platform API – the beast we’ve been working towards these last few months. And what a beast it was; it took him nearly three weeks, though a lot of that was revisions following reviews from team members. Given that this knits together the other APIs we’ve built, we’ve agreed that future top-level API build tasks need to be broken down a lot more!

The Giant Behemoth - Wikipedia
Not quite our API, but it’s almost as big

So what does this behemoth do? In short, it sends queries to the other lower-level APIs and collates their responses, with a tag showing which system returned which response. The tag can be made clickable in a web front-end, so the user is able to easily navigate to that record in the original API that returned it. There are still a couple of things to be done so that it’s usable and we expect these to be completed in the new sprint. 

The LIST and VIEW endpoints for the Contact Details API have also been completed. This will enable us to pull out records from our Contact Centre database; as I mentioned last week, these are sometimes different to what’s in the main Housing database. Humairaa led on this work, and has commented on how much more confident she is now in this field. Given how keen we were to make sure this project was a learning experience, I’m really pleased to hear that. 

Work on the Authoriser app has moved on. There is now an API that generates authorisation tokens for services, and these can be granular to the point that access to particular fields can be specified. The tokens are stored in a database and can be revoked instantly, if required. This is something that we’ve wanted to do for a while, so it’s good to see it finally happening, and it’ll be part of the refreshed API Hub. 

Speaking of which, we reviewed our Roadmap this week and we plan to start the API Hub work this month. The Roadmap does still need a little work for the “Later” column but we have a clear direction for the immediate future. We’re further ahead than we originally thought we would be at this point, and that’s a testament to the team and their hard work. Maybe the last couple of weeks have just been a blip. Maybe we’re just being hard on ourselves. 

Watch our most recent Show & Tell on YouTube.

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