If you want to develop a mobile application, you should consider using APIs. APIs, or application programming interfaces, can build connections between your application and another system, encouraging increased functionality and efficiency. APIs facilitate the communication of relevant information between apps and the other systems, which can be operating systems, applications, or other services. This increased transmission of information can make your application infinitely better for users.
Application of APIs
APIs have a variety of uses that make them a versatile tool when developing an application, as they can be created or formed to your needs or desires. After all, the API itself rules the access points of a system. There is a massive amount of freedom regarding how the APIs can be used for you and in the application or system you’re developing.
You might be using APIs without even realizing it when you text, call, use your phone camera, use your phone GPS, or check or update your calendar. APIs have been seamlessly integrated into all of our daily interactions with technology. Whenever you go to a site that asks you to sign in via Facebook, you’re interacting with an API. APIs are also particularly useful in increasing shipping functionality through more efficient tracking. For instance, an API could enable a company to offer shipping services through a mobile app.
Build It or Buy It?
There are two options for integrating an API into the application you’re developing. You can either assimilate an existing API or you can create a new API yourself. Assimilating an existing API saves money, is usually faster, and requires less development experience than creating an API from scratch. However, by creating a new API you have more freedom to make the API custom to your needs. You can also ensure its security.
If you want to buy an existing API, there are many sites like RapidAPI that can help you understand your options. If you want to build your own API, make sure to use an engineer or developer that you trust so the API meets your unique desires and needs while you can simultaneously ensure its security.
A Common Foundation
If you want to build your API from scratch, you should use “common architecture.” Common architecture is a general baseline and foundation for your API that will be familiar to most developers. This can speed up the process for building the API from nothing. Plus, when you need to update the API after time passes, having used the common architecture means updates will be much more easily developed and implemented.
There are four different types of common architecture; these include web service, pragmatic REST, event-driven, and hypermedia. Web service isn’t optimized for mobile applications, so it might not be the best choice for you. Pragmatic REST is often beneficial for mobile app development, however it might be hard for this type to adapt to technological changes and updates in the future. Event-driven architecture is usually less expensive, but might not be complex enough for the design you need for APIs. Finally, hypermedia is more popular with web applications than mobile apps, but it can still work efficiently with API development.
One thing you should consider when you build an API is adding a developer key. When you do this, anyone who uses your API has to insert a code in order to do so. This can prevent misuse, abuse, or hacking.
Document the Process
If you document the process of developing your API, you can track your work. Plus, clear documentation will illustrate the history and current state of your API. More importantly, clear documentation will increase the ease of later edits and updates exponentially. If not, you’re setting yourself up for frustration when you can’t find what the problem is when repairing your API. This can lead to having to take more time and pay money to repair or update your API. Furthermore, clear documentation enables sharing. If you want other apps to use your API, external developers need to understand how it works.
Plan for the Future
Finally, you will need to update your API in the future. You should plan for this while you are developing to make sure it is easy and safe to do. If you don’t implement updates with care, you risk ruining all the applications that depend on your API for functionality, connection, and communication. Best practices for how to create new versions of your API should be determined on a case by case basis, perhaps with consultation with external experts - create a strategy sooner rather than later.
APIs can take the efficiency of your mobile app to the next level, increasing ease of use and access of information. Through a well thought out development process, you too can utilize the benefits that APIs offer in your mobile app.