App development went through numerous changes, and it wasn’t always approached from the same perspective as today. API-first approach, which is commonly used today, became popular only a decade ago and completely transformed the app development process.
In this article, you can learn everything about the API-first approach to app development. From answering the question: “What is API anyway?” to listing some of its key benefits, we also made sure to include several ways of implementing the API-first approach to your next project.
If you’re interested in learning more about API, don’t go anywhere.
What is API-first approach?
Defining the API-first approach to app development is quite simple. It’s a development approach where APIs (application programming interfaces) are considered in the first place, hence its name. The API-first approach ensures your API has the following features:
- Developer-friendly – Developers can easily integrate your API into their projects.
- Easy to adopt – Lots of users can adopt and use your API.
- Compatible – Your API is compatible with various systems and apps.
The primary goal of the API-first approach is to start every programming process by planning the API. That means the API-first approach is used to plan the behavior of the API before the actual application coding process begins.
Simply put, the API-first approach to app development focuses on implementing the microservices architectural style. Instead of using one code for all features, the code is broken into several components, which function as autonomous mini-applications, also known as microservices.
Although the entire process requires more resources, energy, and collaboration between developers, investors, and future consumers, the final product is guaranteed to be developer-friendly, easy to adopt, and widely compatible.
As a result, companies that have adapted the API-first approach to application development achieved impressive growth and scalability in their industries. It’s not surprising to hear that more companies are willing to follow their example.
The advantages of this development approach
The API-first approach comes with the largest set of advantages, which is precisely why it became the preferable method to app development. The key benefits of this approach are:
Ability to update and upgrade
Technology and systems are rapidly changing and evolving. It’s most likely you’ll want to change, add, or remove something from your designed API, which is where the ability to update and upgrade comes in handy. The well-designed microsystems of APIs offer developers and users to change certain features without impacting the rest of the system.
Better system scalability
The API-first approach minimizes or eliminates any dependencies among connections that could otherwise be found. Therefore, the system has better scalability as microservices can easily replicate, deploy, and destroy components when needed.
Quick and cost-effective development
The best thing about the API-first approach is that the developed microservices are independent systems that can be used on their own. That also means plenty of developed microservices can be used time after time by development teams. By using the pre-built microservice components and integrating them into a new project, the development time and overall cost can be significantly reduced.
Because APIs are reusable, the API-first approach is increasingly flexible. It allows the system to integrate various microservices and helps them successfully integrate. Even if the microservices use different platforms and languages, APIs let them interact without any issues.
High tolerance for errors
The use of multiple independent microservices is beneficial for yet another reason. With several independent systems, there’s a higher tolerance for errors. In simple words, if one microservice fails, the error won’t affect the rest of the system and other microservices.
Ways to implement API-first development
Before you integrate an API-first development approach, there’s a lot of cooperation and planning that needs to happen. The API-first development implementation ways mentioned here will ensure your API-first strategy meets all your expectations.
Collaborate with API employees and users
Collaborate with API stakeholders in your company to make sure they can easily use and navigate the API. Collaboration with future API consumers is also crucial for ensuring the API satisfies their needs, expectations, and requirements.
Identify key functions and services
Before starting the coding process, identify the key functions and services your API must acknowledge. It can be done through collaboration with employees and users. By understanding the APIs’ different use cases, the APIs end-points will be easily determined.
Create an API style standard
Coming up with an API style standard will motivate all team members to use the same API guidelines, which will create consistent API codes. By implementing this step, your pre-build APIs will be more flexible, which will increase their use across various projects.
With various benefits that make APIs superior over any other app development approach, it’s not surprising to hear that the API-first approach is the most popular app development approach currently used.
The API-first approach transformed how teams work on app development and continues to do so to this day. If you still haven’t implemented this innovative and evolving technology in your company, it’s still not late.