Points to Consider While Designing APIs

By CIOReview | Monday, August 22, 2016
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Application Programming Interface (API) brings an abstraction in the way applications work by reducing the burden of a programmer. Organizations are able to redefine the way software and applications are built using a set protocol and subroutine definitions. According to a report by ResearchandMarkets, the global API as a Service (APIaaS) market is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 30.1 percent during 2016-2020.

Read-Only and Read-and-Write APIs

Read-only APIs are publicly used and are mainly installed at the client side using search engine key. While using read-only API, the user may be restricted to access updates, PDFs, and documented data through search engines. The read-only API allows fetching of data from databases as per the request query generated by the user. The sophisticated application design efficiently helps users access the information they need at any time. The only limitation while working with read-only API is it does not allow any changes to be made to the data.

Read-and-Write APIs enable making changes as needed by updating the data and allowing users to access the data using a private or public key. Organizations follow a documented process to make any alterations in structured data within a system. The user can fetch the data using technologies such as JSON or XML using authorized constraints before altering the data. Some of the advantages of using Read-and-Write API are sharing of documents, manipulating contents of the document, and allowing external interface to the API.

Key Factors to Remember While Creating an API

An unprepared approach to design an API can jeopardize the whole structure of API and may result in undesired outputs. In efforts to avoid such a situation, an API developer should start with documentation, highlighting the steps to follow while developing with an insight to implement an API.

API developers have access to various software platforms online to draft and generate a machine-readable document which presents a precise idea of API which can help users gain a profound hand on API elements and functions. While designing an API, machine-readable documents provide higher scalability as the developer is able to alter the machine-readable codes with a dynamic approach.

An efficient API should also include custom data which helps developers fuse various required fields with the organization’s existing system whenever required while designing an API. With custom data integration, developers can experience ‘dynamic’ integration of data which rely on data gathered after a request process. In addition to dynamic integration, the API also involves ‘static’ integration which is useful to carry out transactions such as making a payment or sending a message. ‘Dynamic’ integration leverages facets of API from being more static to actively engaging with application interface.

API is an Asset

API is emerging as an asset for organizations as it is widely deployed in every digital aspect of an organization to establish communication between various applications. By assisting in building an innovative business application, API exploits every technical facet of IT by including other technologies. API drives technological developments which can also be deployed in smaller enterprises cost-effectively.

As APIs can be used by companies of any size to connect with their users through better functioning apps, organizations can improve their interaction with customers thus improving their customer satisfaction levels. With increasing developments in APIs, several applications are fulfilling the necessities of today’s digitized work culture where every activity is regulated by an application. APIs also keep track of IT environment without any obstacle by accessing networks with proper authorization which can lower maintenance costs for an organization.

2015 witnessed innovative API development which has shaped the digital world into a new sphere of IT and still promises continuous growth. APIs have already surpassed the expectations of users and its ability to incorporate various security technologies. The security of data has become a crucial area of concern for enterprises as APIs have previously witnessed breaches causing loss of data. Organizations are coming up with technologies that can protect the data using an API as a security practice.

With the automation provided by the API infrastructure, the Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining more popularity among organizations. As APIs enable connection with various IT devices, the application of IoT will radically grow in an array of industries to share data securely. APIs promise a robust environment for efficient utilization of resources within an organization while bringing automation. APIs are becoming a crucial part of every organization but maintaining it according to industry standards also becomes vital to meet the requirements of customers.

With enhanced security aspects, dynamic approach in communication, and the evolving market, APIs are all set to transform the way organizations develop applications. The increase in IT developments has simplified utilization of APIs in various sectors such as e-commerce, retail, supply chain, and more—ensuring technological growth for organizations in the long run.