API stands for Application Programming Interface. It’s a specification that helps to extend the basic functionality by deploying some features from external sources into your project. Designing a great functioning API is a tough task and it starts from the interface architecture. Without great configured and optimized architecture, all the functionality becomes senseless.
If everything was done right, a newly implemented handy tools or methods can lead to a significant increase in the number of impressions and conversion rate. Your profits may also increase. In this article, we’ll cover the top 7 tips to create your own functioning API architecture.
Think about your users
Your API must always focus on your users. Try to understand what the user wants, analyze what customers like and what they dislike. Don’t introduce useful but inconvenient features – users are unlikely to appreciate such an effort. Check the market for existing offers and try to avoid those which are the least attractive for users.
If you follow this simple rule, you’ll save a bunch of time instead of wasting it for developing things no one will ever use. Also, it’s great for customer strategy and user support – your customers will know that you are focusing on making them happier by using your product.
Think about security
Security issues become a real problem nowadays. The full list of possible threats can be shocking: hacker attacks, various dangerous malicious software, infected botnets, DDoS attacks, personal data sniffers, infected emails and messages, and more. To create a great API you need to take care of the user’s defense. No one will really like to use an API with severe security breaches.
Using unsafe APIs is really dangerous and can lead to severe money and reputation loses. Your users will doubt to use the product if their personal data or important credentials can be stolen. In this case, they may probably choose a less functioning but safer API. Think about how you can protect your users – use HTTPS across your APIs, SSL certificates, add a timeout for every request or response, etc. The other great method is to ensure that only authorized personnel can have access to important parts of your API’s logic or architecture by using access tokens.
Don’t forget about versioning
Your product won’t be the same throughout its life cycle. You may want to reduce or extend some functionality, add new features, test different optimization techniques, etc. Different versions help to rollback to safe stable versions and test various possible features you may want to implement in your API. It’s also a real user-friendly approach to leave your users an option to choose between different versions of your API, including the old ones. Some customers will appreciate the ability to use old but still supported versions, especially if new releases somehow don’t fit users’ needs.
Consider using HATEOAS
It’s an approach that stands for Hypermedia As Transfer Engine Of Application State. It’s really convenient because in this case, a user doesn’t really need to know how all things work in your API or how to interact with your application or website in the right way. All the required data will be embedded in response from the server without user intervention. It helps to keep things simpler.
Try to keep things simple but reliable
Don’t try to overflow your API with functionality. It’s better for an API to do less but better instead of implementing a bunch of unstable or inconvenient features. Consider focusing on a couple of reliable supported methods and technologies. Enhance them over time, improve user support and don’t chase after dubious features. Don’t try to cover all the market with a single API. Use your functionality to stand out from the thousands of competitors instead of making a universal mediocrity.
Don’t sacrifice performance to improve functionality
It’s great when your API can show great results in different tasks. Never forget to make sure that great functionality doesn’t harm the performance or your application or website. It doesn’t matter how great your API is, if it’s slowing the product down or even crashes it, no one will really want to use this interface.
Think about how your API can be extended
It’s also a great thing to leave an option to extend your API with additional features with minimal effort. Consider developing an architecture that is easy to extend and update. The market is changing continuously. A timely update or an add-on may help you to make even more profit.
To sum up
Creating a great functioning API is a really hard and responsible task. Developers need to care about a bunch of things: security, optimization, market demand, simplicity and efficiency, reliability and extensibility, etc.
Great API may increase conversions of your application or a website, boost profits, raise the company’s popularity among the various groups of users, extend the product’s area of influence, etc. Thus, developing a great successful API can be painful, but it’s totally worth it.