APIs have become a staple of software development. Their proliferation has made it easier than ever for software to connect and interoperate. And as integration becomes a necessity rather than a luxury, the demand for APIs will only continue to rise. But what is an API? What are the benefits of creating one? And how do you architect an API to meet your needs?
This blog post will cover these questions and more. Below you’ll find a list of the top 10 best practices for creating APIs and microservice architectures. These insights were compiled through personal experience and conversations with other industry leaders. Read on to learn more and decide if APIs are the right choice for your project.
APIs Have Emerged From The Desire To Connect
The connection between systems has become a key focus in the software industry. With the rise of the internet and mobile devices, the need for interoperability has never been greater. However, the dizzying array of different protocols, formats, and communication methods used across industries has made this nearly impossible.
The need to connect has thus led to the concept of an API. An API is a set of defined services that allow the seamless communication between systems. The concept of an API is not new — it has been around since the mid-1980s. However, it has recently seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to the proliferation of modern networking and distributed computing technologies.
APIs Facilitate Stronger Integrations
Beyond the need to connect, another crucial factor in the rise of APIs is the need to integrate. Integrations are the connections and interactions between systems that allow them to work together. Currently, there are many different types of integrations. Some of the more common ones include data exchange, user-interface, and two or more systems working together to solve a common problem.
The ease of integrating systems through APIs has become a major selling point. The power of APIs lies in the fact that they are standards-based. This means that regardless of the type of integration you have in mind, using an API will enable it. For example, if you are building a banking application, an API can enable you to connect to a brokerage account and execute trades.
APIs Create Standards-Based Software
One of the best things about APIs is that they create consistent software. Consistent software is code that works the same way in all environments. It follows the same rules and expects to operate on the same data.
Standards-based software is the Holy Grail in the software industry. It has the power to unify different teams, departments, and businesses — something that is crucial in the age of the internet. However, unlike in the physical world, where we often have standards established by law or regulation, software standards in the digital world are a lot more flexible.
As the owner of a blockchain-based business, you will likely face the challenge of developing a consistent user interface across the entire platform — not just your blockchain asset platform. This is where APIs can come to the rescue.
APIs Are A Key Element In Modern Software
APIs represent a key building block in modern software development. They allow software to connect and interact with other systems, thereby creating a true digital ecosystem.
The popularity of APIs has grown dramatically over the past few years, largely as a result of the surge in interest in the blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. As the blockchain and distributed ledger technologies become more mainstream, the demand for APIs that connect to these technologies will only increase.
APIs Tied Into Microservice Architectures
APIs are a key component of modern software development, and they can also be used to power microservices architectures. Microservices architectures are flexible software architectures based on breaking applications into very small, independent services.
One of the main benefits of microservices architectures is scalability. The more services you have in a microservice-based architecture, the better positioned your application will be to handle increased load. Since microservices are small, independent services, adding resources to a single service should not impact other services.
Microservice-based architectures can be effectively used with APIs to allow for more flexible integrations and a greater degree of customization. This is especially helpful in business-to-business (B2B) applications, where the needs of each client can be very different.
APIs Wrapped Into Negotiating APIs
APIs are a key building block in modern software development, and they can also be used to power negotiating APIs. Negotiating APIs enable you to create a proxy that can be used to modify the behavior of an original API.
For example, you can use a negotiating API to modify how an original HTTP API operates. You can change the operation of the original API to perform a custom operation, such as caching or paginating. You can also modify the format of the data the original API returns, removing or changing unwanted fields.
Wrapping Everything With APIs Is Not a good architecture
While APIs are a key building block in modern software development, they are not a silver bullet. No matter how hard you try to wrap everything into APIs, some things will just not fit.
For example, you cannot fit the requirements for a stable, reliable server into an API. You also cannot encapsulate a human being into an API. In fact, if you try to do so, you will create an API that returns the following: "This resource is currently unavailable."
Ultimately, the decision to use an API or not is based on the needs of your project. This decision will depend on the type of integration you need, as well as your budget and time constraints.
If you are building a consumer application, you will likely want to stick with a consumer-oriented API. On the other hand, if you are building a business-to-business (B2B) application, you will want to look into developing a B2B API.
The good news is that creating an API is a very scalable way of connecting your systems and establishing Integration. The best practices outlined in this post will help you get started with creating APIs and building microservice-based architectures.