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Michael Richardson & Tony Bommarito - Milk, Eggs and API's - Evolving an API Strategy at Kroger

API The Docs 2023 Developer Success & Developer Portals Recap

This talk was presented at APIDays New York 2023, Developer Success & Developer Portals track on 17 May. We are glad to present the video recording and the talk summary.

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Advanced Software Engineering Manager at Kroger


Engineering Manager at Kroger



Backing into an API Program

” We've always had a need to communicate and exchange information in a protocol fashion with other organizations, so this has been important to our organization for a long time.

  • APIs have been around for a while at Kroger, but they were:
    • team and product specific, and
  • lacked organization.
  • First foray into Ecommerce
    • Quickly realized the level of unique business challenges, key enablers, and market differentiators were never going to be solved using a packed solution.
  • Solution: Microservices
  • Challenges:
    • Lack of consistency.
    • Various authorization and authentication models.
    • New types of consumers.


  • To ensure consistency: formulate a style guide with the aspect of making a Grassroots endeavor:
    • Including the developers in the process of what and how the API should look.
  • Compliance with the style guide: using a live linter.
  • Security: OAuth 2 was adopted.


” In a large organization, it can take some work to find the APIs you need or even determine if they exist.

  • Developer Marketplace was created to catalog all the APIs at Kroger.
  • To ensure it’s up to date: the API team built a code that could be run in pipelines to submit that OS specification with every new deployment to production.

Accessibility and Enablement

  • App registration was built next on the Developer Marketplace.
  • Rolled out a gateway to simplify access for external consumers.
  • The Enablement team is dedicated to curating quality documentation for the APIs.
  • Creating a central location for documentation on the Developer Marketplace.
  • Creating an integration layer for the partners:
    • information is exchanged through APIs.

Culture Shift

  • API first strategy:
    • Working with API contracts first, establishing what will be delivered and what the final contract will look like,
    • then the developers can build the API, and the QA team can start building test cases around the OS.
  • Shift left, so tests can be done earlier and issues can be discovered sooner.
  • Data-sharing governance can help move forward faster instead of creating blockers.

Key Takeaways

  • Continuous iteration
  • Governance is your friend
  • Focus on grassroots adoption
  • Shift left for speed and quality

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