A Systematic Review of API Usability Evaluation Methods

An Application Programming Interface (API) provides a programmatic interface to a software component that is often offered publicly and is used by other programmers beyond its original develops. APIs are the key element in software reuse. By reusing high quality components and services, developers can increase their productivity and avoid costly defects. The usability of an API is a quality characteristic that tell us how easy is to learn and use an API. Recent years have seen a considerable increase in research efforts to evaluate the usability of APIs. An API usability evaluation can identify problem areas and provide recommendation for improving the API. In this systematic literature review, we study 32 primary studies in detail to learn the aim of API usability studies, what API usability methods exist and what resources are needed to apply them in practice. We consider that the results of this literature review are useful for both academia and practitioners that what to design or improve an API as well as to propose new API usability evaluation methods.

Irum Rauf, Ivan Porres (Åbo Akademi University):  A Systematic Review of API Usability Evaluation Methods. TUCS Technical Reports 1141, TUCS, 2015.