Assuming you’ve heard the term ‘API’ a million times while speaking with mobile app developers, I’ll go over everything there is to know about APIs in this article, including what it is, how to use it, and how it works. So buckle up and prepare to enter the world of APIs, the superheroes responsible for the smooth operation of mobile apps.
What is API, and Why Does It Matter?
API (Application Programming Interface software) is a set of instructions, standards, or requirements that allows a program or app to use features/services from another app, platform, or device in order to provide better service. A feature that allows apps to communicate with one another is what it is.
Candy Crush, for example, does not prompt us to enter our Facebook account information when we click the ‘Connect Facebook’ button. Rather, it uses the API to retrieve data from the Facebook server and allows us to play.
Almost every software that handles data or facilitates communication between two products or services relies on an API as its base. A mobile app or platform can share data with other apps or platforms without the requirement for developers to improve the user’s experience. On top of that, APIs reduce the necessity to create a similar program or platform from the ground up; you may use an existing one or another app/platform instead. Because of these characteristics, API development is a priority for both app developers and corporate leaders.
Continue reading this API development guide if you’re also interested in API development frameworks or want to learn more about them.
Before we go any further, let’s have a look at some basic terminology that will help you understand the concept.
API development terminologies
a) API Key: When an API request uses a header or parameter to recognize the requester, the authorized code is referred to as an API Key.
b) Endpoint: A communication channel’s endpoint is referred to as an endpoint when an API talks with another system.
d) GET: The HTTP way of retrieving resources in a RESTful application program interface is termed GET.
e) POST: The HTTP method for creating resources in the RESTful API is POST.
Now that you know what API development is and are familiar with the terms connected with it, let’s get into the technical side of things – starting with how APIs function and how to construct APIs (how to create an API).
Assume you go to the XYZ app or website to book a flight. You completed the form, including the departure and return dates, city, flight, and other pertinent information, and then submitted it. A list of flights shows on the screen in a matter of seconds, complete with price, timings, seat availability, and other information. What causes this to happen?
To give such detailed information, the platform used an application programme interface to send a request to the airline’s website, requesting access to their database and necessary data. The website returned the data that API Integration had sent to the platform, which was then presented on the screen by the platform.
Endpoints are the flight booking app or platform and the airline’s website, with the API acting as a go-between. REST and SOAP are the API’s two methods for contacting endpoints (see definition above).
Despite the fact that both approaches produce successful outcomes, a mobile app development business prefers REST over SOAP since SOAP APIs are resource-intensive and platform-dependent.
Contact our experts today to learn more about the API lifecycle and how APIs function in detail.
Now we’ll get to the meat of the matter: how to create an API. What are the best API development tools and technologies? What are the best practices for API development?
Tools for Creating APIs (like a PRO..)
While there are numerous API design tools and technologies available to aid in the creation of an API, the following are the most commonly used API development technologies and tools for developers:
a) Apigee: Apigee is a Google API management service that helps developers and entrepreneurs succeed at digital transformation by re-establishing an API Integration strategy.
b) APIMatic and API Transformer: are two additional prominent API development tools. They provide advanced automatic generating tools for creating high-quality SDKs and code snippets from API-specific forms and converting them to other specification formats like RAML, API Blueprint, and so on.
c) API Science: This is a common tool for assessing the performance of APIs on the inside as well as the outside.
d) API Serverless Architecture: These technologies use a cloud-based server infrastructure to help mobile app developers design, construct, publish, and host APIs.
e) API-Platform: An open-source PHP framework that may be used to build web APIs is available.
f) Auth0: Auth0 is an identity management system for authenticating and authorizing APIs.
g) ClearBlade: It’s an API management service that helps you integrate IoT technologies into your workflow.
h) GitHub: This open-source git repository hosting site allows developers to handle distributed code files, pull requests, version control, and commenting. Also, it allowed them to save their code in private repositories.
i) Postman: Basically, it’s a set of tools that let API developers run their code and test, document, and evaluate the effectiveness of their APIs.
j) Swagger: Swagger is an open-source platform for developing API software. Swagger is used by big IT companies like GettyImages and Microsoft. Despite the fact that APIs abound, there is still a significant gap in the use of API technologies. Some APIs make app integration a pleasure, while others make it a nightmare. Here are some of the efficient API aspects for developers to consider in this API development guide to ensure that you construct a former one:
An Efficient API’s Must-Have Features
Here are a few API features to consider while developing a safe mobile application:
a) Modification timestamps/Search by criteria: Modification timestamps/Search by criteria is the most important API function that an app should have. Users should be able to search data using different criteria, such as a date, using an API. This is because we only examine modifications (updates, edits, and deletions) after the initial data synchronization.
b) Paging: There are occasions when we don’t want to see the entire data modified, but only a portion of it. API should be able to figure out when and how much info to show at a time, in this situation. This information should also be provided to the end-user.
c) Sorting: To ensure that the end-user receives all of the data pages one by one, the API should allow users to sort data by modification time or some other criterion.
d) JSON Support/ REST: While it is not required, it is beneficial to consider your API to be RESTful (or to provide JSON support(REST)) in order to design an effective API. The REST APIs are stateless, lightweight, and allow you to retry the upload process for mobile apps if it fails. In the case of SOAP, this is quite difficult. Furthermore, the syntax of JSON is similar to that of most programming languages, making it simple for a mobile app developer to parse it into another language.
e) OAuth Authorization: Your application program interface must authorize using OAuth because it is faster than other methods – all you have to do is click a button and it’s done.
In a nutshell, processing time should be kept to a bare minimum, response time should be good, and security should be strong. After all, your application deals with a lot of data, therefore putting effort into API development best practices for safeguarding it is critical.
Building the Right API: Best Practices
a) Consider Throttling: Throttling is a wonderful practice to consider for redirecting traffic overflow, backing up APIs, and protecting against DoS (Denial of Service) attacks.
b) Think of your API gateway as a police officer: The API gateway must be regarded as the enforcement point when setting up throttling rules, using API keys, or using OAuth. It should be regarded as a security feature that restricts data access to just authorized users. It should allow you to encrypt messages or change secret data, allowing you to track and govern how your API is utilized.
c) Allow overriding HTTP method: Because certain proxies only support the GET and POST methods, your RESTful API must be able to override the HTTP method. Use the X-HTTP-Method-Override custom HTTP header to accomplish this.
d) Examine APIs and infrastructure: Real-time analysis is now feasible, but what if the API server is suspected of having memory leaks, CPU draining issues, or other concerns? You can’t keep a developer on duty to explore such scenarios. However, using a variety of solutions available on the market, such as AWS cloud watch, you may simply accomplish this.
e) Ensure security: Your API technology must be secure, but not at the expense of user-friendliness. Your API is not user-friendly if it takes more than five minutes for a user to authenticate. API security can be improved with token-based authentication.
f) Documentation: Last but not least, it is beneficial to write detailed documentation for a mobile app API that allows other mobile app developers to quickly comprehend the entire process and use the information to provide a better user experience. To put it another way, good API documentation will save the time and expense of implementing a project and improve the efficiency of API technology.
The price of developing an API
Building a simple API costs around $20,000 on average. This figure assumes you’re working with a professional API software developer from a reputable API development business to create a safe, well-documented, fully functional API.
QUESTIONS REGULARLY ASKED ABOUT API DEVELOPMENT
1. What is the difference between REST API development and SOAP API development?
In software design, the REST (Representational State Transfer) API offers a complete set of standards for developing Web services. SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a more complicated protocol than REST since it includes more standards, such as security.
2. How can I create an effective RESTful API?
Following these guidelines will make creating a good RESTful API much easier:
- Apply to throttle
- Treating your API Gateway as if it were an enforcer
- The ability to override HTTP methods
- Creating a thorough documentation
- Figure out what APIs and infrastructure you’ll need.
3. What is API development and what are the different sorts of APIs?
API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of instructions and requirements that allow software or mobile application to take advantage of the features and services of other apps, platforms, or devices to provide better service.
APIs are divided into three categories:
- APIs for web services
- APIs for WebSockets APIs based on libraries
- APIs for remoting objects
- APIs based on classes
- APIs for hardware, etc.
4. What is JSON API, and how does it work?
Are you interested in API development now that you have a thorough understanding of what APIs are, how to utilize them, and what considerations to consider while designing one? If that’s the case, get in touch with our API development professionals. They’ll walk you through the entire process and assist you in creating a safe API. We can also assist you with mobile app development services if it is something you are interested in. We are a well-known mobile app development firm in the United States.