Building an API is a process that involves many essential details. With more organizations focused on adopting mobile technology, indeed an API is an integral component of every digital-based service. But like any technology, an API can be your biggest asset and also your greatest liability. Poor execution will lead to unreliable services. Hence implementing the right API is a crucial decision.
What is an API?
An API or Application Programming Interface is like a restaurant menu. The menu lists dishes and their description. When you order a specific dish, the kitchen does all the work, and you only get the finished product. Similarly, an API consists of operations that application developers use and integrate into apps.
For example, there is an API for every dialog box that a user clicks on the interface. Although it is not the strictest description of what an API can do, most API design guides like stoplight.io allow the developer to implement the platform to do much of the work.
The importance of API design
API design has a broader scope than merely the correct way of writing syntax. As a whole, a good API design means that users will not have a difficult time with the interface, and at the same time allow you to maintain it efficiently. Similar to any product, good API design also includes a manual. The manual should include detailed documentation of resources, as well as the structure of these resources. If you follow the best practices associated with API design, the following will be some of the notable benefits:
- Good API design means better implementation. Think of your API design as a blueprint for the intended outcome. It needs to be comprehensive enough to show an overview and include the endpoints. It should not have complex configurations.
- Improved developer experience. If you are a developer, then you understand how frustrating it is to work endlessly on integrating a service. If you begin with good API design, the work is much less complicated and easier to understand.
- Better documentation. Documentation is a critical step in building the API interface. In most cases, the developer only begins documenting after mapping out all API resources and request-response cycles. If the API design is robust, documenting it is much easier and less prone to errors. With an excellent API design, documentation becomes more optimized for use in building an interface.
- Helps with incremental development. Developing an API is an ongoing process. Products and services continue to evolve, which means the APIs should change as well. If you begin with a clear design, it is easier to pinpoint specific resources that need updating. And, as the API gets more complex, the goal is to avoid duplicating work by making sure that changes and updates are done systematically and efficiently.
In conclusion, good API design is critical to its usability. It is not only more adaptable but also makes implementation less difficult for developers. Yes, coming up with a good API design takes time and practice. That is why you will need to pay attention to the best practices laid out by experts.