What are APIs Exactly?
When it comes to building mobile applications, APIs take the front and center spot. Acronym of Application Programming Interface, APIs are essentially a set of requirements, standards, or instructions using which any application or a software can utilize the services of another software or an application or even a platform to enhance the core functionality of the app or software in question. So, it would be safe to say that we use APIs to let apps communicate. You can read about an API example here.
For instance, the moment you click on Login to LinkedIn, the app would never ask you to fill the account information rather it fetches the information from LinkedIn server and you’re good to go. It’s all an API game. API would simply empower an app offering to use and communicate with other apps and software without direct involvement of development professionals. The list of benefits continues – API frees you from the arduous task of developing a new platform, you may use the one that is already there.
Here is how a good and best-in-breed API looks like
The features we provide below are very much what we believe a good API would be embedded with –
- Paging – It is a must-have feature where an API should never display all data in a single go. Your API should be capable of displaying only that data that is needed and necessary to be displayed. Determine the frequency as well and inform the user about the remaining pages.
- Authorize – It is through OAuth, that an API should authorize which is obviously much faster and less time-consuming than any other method. You can authorize with a single click of a button.
- Sort it out – User Experience is prime currency in any service offering. Even with APIs, professionals at top custom API development companies emphasize on displaying all pages to its users one-by-one. The very feature allows sorting of data considering the time at which modification has been performed or other similar condition.
- Search according to the criteria – Users can search data basis of various criteria such as the date or time. The primary reason for this is that the operations such as modify, update, or delete are considered usually after data has been synchronized initially.
- JSON – That’s the part which is not mandatory for an API to perform exceptionally well. REST APIs are light-weight, no-state, and allow professionals to upload apps in failure scenarios.
How can you build a good API?
A couple of things you as a good API developer are expected to do are as follows –
- Throttle – Redirect traffic overflow through App throttling. You may also throttle apps for Denial of Service attacks or backing up your API.
- API gateways for enforcement – Consider your API as the point of enforcement while throttling. This is how you keep a check on whether the right users are accessing the data. This step would allow you to encrypt or edit the information and quickly analyse the way you use your API.
- Overriding HTTP – If it is your RESTful API, you may allow it to override the HTTP method by employing the custom header.
- Evaluation is necessary – Did you know AWS cloudwatch allows you to monitor and evaluate your APIs?
- Documentation is in order – Yes, it would be beneficial and recommended to create an extensive API documentation that would be helpful for other developers to refer to in future.
Willing to know more about APIs and what they do? We’re the API experts. Talk to us.