Before the companies start their API journey, they need to make a strategy and analyze all the phases of the API life-cycle. When the planning phase is done, the next step is to start developing an API. Many respectable developers are advocating for the API-first design approach.
What is the API-First Approach?
This means that the company and its stakeholders should discuss how an API should be designed, and after that how it should be used in various applications and channels.
The general idea of this concept is to bend the IT estate towards the APIs, instead of the other direction. One of the advantages of this approach is that the organizations who are making this API, are going to get feedback in the early stages of developing.
That way, the developers will have important information and they will know what they need to change. Another advantage is that consistency is forced throughout the interfaces, which will give an insight into the range of apps which could implement API you are developing.
Now we will present some tips that will help you in the API-first design concept. In the end, they will show you why this concept is considered powerful.
Tip #1: Analyze the API Life cycle
Planning out a strategy and analyzing the phases of the API life-cycle. Here are two questions you need to ask yourself before coming up with a strategy:
- Why does your company need to develop an API?
- Who are you going to target with your API?
After the strategy is in place, the designing of an API with the API-first design methodology can begin. The designing of an API with this methodology is done without too much consideration for the IT world. Firstly, the developers are starting to build an app independently, after that they are twisting the IT world, without changing the API they developed.
Tip #2: Work Carefully on the Documentation
Unlike the individual consumers that are not all that interested in how an API was built and designed, companies that want to use APIs to build their apps on, actually are. For that reason, when coming up with API docs, you should include the history of your API in it. This will give the companies that are interested in your API more insight into the whole process.
Tip #3: Have a Clear Purpose in Mind
No matter how good is your API, not everyone will consider it useful. However, an API should be designed with the specialized purpose and consistency in mind. The developer should also have in mind, that the API is bound to grow in the future. If the developer does a good job of designing an API, there is an increased chance of implementation of various platforms.
Tip #4: Don’t Listen to Biased Developers
There are some prejudices about it. People are making the mistake of thinking that this concept is just meant for the new companies. Today, with the growth of the API economy, it became something that all the companies should be considering. By developing and designing your API first, you can make it more flexible for the building on top of it.
Tip #5: Don’t Take Any Shortcuts
As we mentioned before, this concept right here is cost-effective and simple. Some of the companies are taking the shortcuts in the development process to save time and resources. Either they are unaware of that is just their choice. After developing an API by taking the shortcuts, they will spend more time in refactoring their code than they could have spent in the development process.
Tip #6: Use the Government Resources
For the last couple of years, governments across the globe have made their data available to the public. In the US, there are open data initiatives, which are looking for a way to deliver this data to the public properly. API-first approach is now seen as the perfect way for delivering this information because it can increase the functionality by avoiding dealing with the technical debt, that can build up around APIs that are designed to support user-oriented applications.
From the look of things, we can conclude that the API-first design is driving the developer’s experience. In the next few years, the API will probably drive a big part of the whole world of economy as well. API-first design is the future of API design because of its resources and time-reducing capabilities. Whatever you heard some say, we feel like the companies should adopt this way of designing if they want to see more success in the future. Simply put, we are sure that this concept has the future.
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