Best Practices in API Development

The user-friendliness of programs or devices is defined by a set of principles known as an API. It is a software interface that allows apps to communicate with one another. It could be a web-based system, a database system, etc.

The field of API (Application Programming Interface) development is rapidly expanding. Every piece of software you use will involve an API, and the demand for API developers is increasing every year.

The tech giants like Netflix, Facebook, and Github are the leaders in this practice.  They hire API developers to make the most of their app’s data and give the greatest user experience possible.

API development, on the other hand, is a challenging task. It necessitates a great deal of effort, attention, and planning. Many businesses struggle to perform this work effectively due to a lack of appropriate API management systems.

Now, Let’s discuss about SOLID Principles 

SOLID Principles

In his work “Design Principles and Design Patterns,” published in 2000, Robert C. Martin introduced the SOLID principles. These ideas were then expanded upon by Michael Feathers, who coined the name SOLID. These five principles have revolutionized the field of object-oriented programming in the last 20 years, changing the way we write software.

The design principles of Martin and Feathers inspire us to produce software that is more maintained, clear, and flexible.

SOLID stands for:

S – Single-responsibility Principle

O – Open-closed Principle

L – Liskov Substitution Principle

I – Interface Segregation Principle

D – Dependency Inversion Principle

To read more about SOLID Principles. (Click on the link)

  • Developers should always follow certain best practices. This blog contains a list of some of the top API development practices that will assist you in properly maintaining and using APIs.
  • Your API should follow your country’s and industry’s regulations

Different countries and industries have different laws and rules. Your API development team must make sure that your company follows the rules of the country or industry you’re targeting. Developing faulty software which misconfigures security rules could result in hefty fines or prison sentences.

Medical APIs, for example, might be subject to HIPAA (US) or IEC 62304 rules (International). Please ensure that you are aware of these rules and that your APIs follow them.

  • Make use of JSON

JSON isn’t used by all APIs (Javascript Object Notation). Different programming languages and formats are commonly supported by REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs, but JSON is by far the easiest to understand and use.

It is widely regarded as the gold standard for API development, which is one of the many reasons why SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) APIs are being phased out in favor of REST. SOAP only uses XML (Extensible Markup Language), which is far less readable than JSON.

JSON is simple to process and most frameworks support it, and it may be used as data in any programming language. As a result, it is the most adaptable and extensively used format available. 

  • It’s better if there are more integrations

Integrate your APIs with third-party technologies/APIs so that they can collaborate if necessary. It will help you build a more robust platform by allowing your API to do more. For your project, you can hire API developers.

Integrations using open-source libraries or enterprise services buses, such as Apache Camel, MuleSoft, and others, would, for example, make integration easier and minimize time-to-market.

  • Ensure that your APIs are scalable

Make sure you have a well-thought-out load balancing and scaling strategy in place so your APIs don’t go down when a large number of users try to access them at the same time. It’s a prevalent concern among API developers because they don’t consider how their APIs might be used by other parties.

Let’s suppose your API provides data to users, and you allow them to query the database. You have no way of knowing how many external sources will simultaneously access your API. It’s a good idea to implement some load balancing technology/methods so that your API doesn’t go down if too many external resources suddenly target it.

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  • Make security a top priority.

Another best practice for creating APIs is to always use current security frameworks such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security). SSL certificates provide both public and private keys, which helps to create a secure connection.

This encrypts the connection. Without it, there is no confirmation if you’re sufficiently protecting sensitive data like medical or financial information.  TLS is essentially the most up-to-date version of SSL, with improved protection and security.

TLS is essentially the most up-to-date version of SSL, providing increased security and protection. The addition of HTTPS to a website’s URL indicates whether it has an SSL certificate. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, and as of 2014, it is a ranking factor in Google.

Regular testing is another essential API security best practice. You can utilize the following two vital tests:

  • Fuzz testing is a technique for determining how an API responds to an invalid or unexpected input to find bugs or errors in the code.
  • Penetration testing determines how vulnerable an API is to a real-world cyber-attack. The tester looks for vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.

Finally, rate limitation is a simple technique to prevent DoS (Denial of Service) attacks, which occur when an API’s usual operation is disrupted by an overflow of requests. These attacks can be prevented by limiting the number of requests per user for a set period.

  • Before launching, conduct extensive testing
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Testing after you’ve implemented your APIs won’t help; you’ll need to do it before. The more tests performed, the more accurate the results will be, allowing for further analysis and improvement if necessary.

Let’s suppose you want to update your API but are unable to do so because you are still in the development phase. Before pushing to production, no tests are performed, therefore no one knows if it works or not. To avoid getting into this situation, make sure testing is done ahead of time.

  • API Documentation is Vitalhttps://miro.medium.com/max/1400/0*oJyum8kXT0rOFfy_

Any API documentation is probably the most important component.

It means that you should document every method, parameter, input, and output so that developers can understand how your APIs work. When writing, it’s best to use a machine-readable format instead of a human-readable format because this will allow easier integration with programs/software.

When documenting a method, for example, you would choose a machine-readable format rather than a human-readable one since the software can better interpret it.

  • APIs are required to follow industry standards
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When it comes to designing APIs, industry standards are the best way to go. You can use the most widely used standards, such as RESTful APIs, JSON, and XML. Most developers are familiar with these standards, making it simple for consumers to engage with your APIs.

Let’s say you create a new API usage standard that isn’t as popular or extensively used as the current one. Because fewer individuals know how to utilize APIs, there will be a shortage of documentation, and customers may become irritated because they don’t understand how to use them. Using industry standards ensures that documentation and other materials are widely available, making them accessible to customers.

  • User-friendly API design is essential

The design of an API should be simple and intuitive. Consumers may become frustrated and discontinue using APIs if they can’t figure out how they function on their own. It leads to a lower rate of API adoption, making it more difficult to spread the word about them – making your documentation and the actual design user-friendly enhances the likelihood of customers using them.

  • Conclusion

APIs should have high reliability, scalability, standards, well-defined service boundaries, SEO optimization, user-friendly design, and reusability built-in. Following these best practices will ensure that APIs are developed to fulfill both corporate and consumer requirements, improving the probability of adoption.

6 comments

  1. Your article made me suddenly realize that I am writing a thesis on gate.io. After reading your article, I have a different way of thinking, thank you. However, I still have some doubts, can you help me? Thanks.

  2. Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you.

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