One of the most asked questions is why do seasoned developers such as ourselves stress the need to learn API design? Honestly, there are a number of reasons why we stress newbie developers to get into API design because there are many reasons why creating an API is beneficial. The creation of an API can become the foundation of a large development project, and many businesses use this technique to test the waters. Not to mention the fact that API creation is an excellent way to increase the adoption of certain resources. Though most developers create their own APIs to mainly take their ideas to the larger market and see how that works out. After all, there has to be a reason why so many software development firms are hiring people with API expertise.
What Type of API Should You Learn to Develop?
Obviously, before you jump into learning API development and design, it is important to know what you want. You have to figure out why it is good to use one type of API design over the other. Though by and large the REST API architecture is perhaps the most prevalent closely followed by SOAP which used to be the industry standard back in the 90s. However, even today each type of API architecture has its own set of advantages and similar disadvantages.
The Planning Phase
Planning how to go about developing the required API is important. You are urged never to go ahead and rush through the development and research lifecycle. However, planning is time-consuming, but proper planning can lead to success. You need to figure out how the API will interact with the existing services and how it will have to be maintained. It is also essential to plan for documentation and versioning which need to be factored into the planning.
Prototyping an Essential Part of API Development
It is important to prototype your API’s design. Prototyping allows you to see what kind of computer specifications will offer optimal performance benefits. Also, it gives you insight into things like design flaws, glitches and a couple of other things which can be fixed before the final version is out. Yes! It will add a couple of more weeks to the development cycle, but it is worth the time.
API developers find that using RAML helps with delivering a highly optimized Spec Driven API. Plus it keeps you on track when designing an API. It allows you to reuse code where necessary which in turn takes advantage of the required patterns. The result is a highly consistent API.
Make sure to build a way to get feedback from developers. The input will mean that you’re in a good position to grow in order to meet their needs.
Security and Authentication
When in the process of building a SaaS-based API it is essential to build authentication into the user experience. Since every person will have their own account, the security of every account is mainly the responsibility of the API in question.
The Use of Resources
Clients interact with an API using all the required resources so it is important to adhere to the best practices when designing it. This is an important step for both API usability and also longevity.
APIs will be consumed quickly so they shouldn’t just provide great operational information but also meaningful error information. It will make using the API easier. Hypermedia is another technology you should be familiar with to improve usability. It helps you manage and update the API which is a big part of running a successful API.