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The Basics of API Driven Development

API Driven Development blog
October 16, 2018
By Blue Pi
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Unlike conventional software development methodologies, API-driven development (ADD) emphasizes building custom software applications by using application programming interfaces (APIs) as their core components. As a set of functions, protocols, routines, and procedures, APIs provide the building blocks required to develop a fully-functional software application. The developers can further simplify and accelerate development of custom software applications by integrating the building blocks provided by APIs.

Types of APIs

The programmers even have the option to create software applications by implementing a wide variety of APIs. Also, a single API can be implemented in a number of ways. Likewise, the developer can build APIs with various technologies and standards. For instance, they can use APIs to define the interface between the software applications and the underlying operating system. Likewise, the programmers can also use APIs to describe and prescribe the expected behavior of software libraries. At the same time, remote APIs make it easier for programmers to integrate and manipulate remote resources through standard communication protocols.

API Contracts

When an enterprise adopts ADD, it needs to get API designed as the first artifact when the software development process starts. The enterprises need to ensure the API specification and signature is clearly defined by creating API contracts. Normally, large enterprises deploy dedicated API architect to create API contracts. But the small enterprises and start-ups often get API contracts created by front-end developers. However, the frontend developers, backend developers, and API architects must collaborate with each other to finalize the API contract.

API Logic Implementation

Once the API contracts are finalized, the developers will start working on the software’s frontend and backend. The front-end developers will develop mocks around the API. Also, they will experiment with the mock to improve the application’s user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). At the same time, the backend developers will implement the software’s business logic based on the API contract. Finally, the frontend and backend of the software will be integrated. As both frontend and backend, developers write code based on the predefined API contracts the software functions properly without failures.

Microservice Application Architecture

ADD helps developers to keep the software applications modular. The developers can even leverage ADD to build a software application as a collection of micro-apps. The micro apps and services will interact with each other smoothly through APIs. The modularity further makes it easier for programmers to maintain or update the software application in the future by making changes to specific micro-apps or services. Also, the modularity helps enterprises to scale specific components of the software application by deploying additional hardware resources. Hence, ADD does not require businesses to update or scale the entire application.

Smooth and Uninterrupted Connectivity

Internet of Things (IoT) will soon create a connected environment where machines will interact with each other smoothly, constantly, and efficiently. The enterprises have to upgrade their existing software applications to stay relevant and competitive in the IoT age. ADD helps businesses to upgrade their software and applications for the connected age. The APIs will make the applications connect and communicate with third-party applications and services without human intervention. Hence, ADD helps businesses to stay relevant in the long run by developing applications by integrating APIs.

Important Benefits

ADD simplifies and accelerates development of custom software applications making the software development process revolve around APIs. The building blocks provided by the API further help developers to build the software’s frontend and backend rapidly. The developers can further take advantage of third-party APIs to perform common and repetitive web development tasks like logging and user management without writing additional code. The third-party APIs even enables backend developers to improve software quality by focusing only on its business logic. At the same time, ADD further emphasizes on elaborate API documentation. The developers have to use the tool to define and visualize the APIs by creating comprehensive documentation.

Points to Consider

An enterprise can reap a number of benefits by switching to ADD. But it must consider some important points to leverage ADD fully. For instance, ADD requires developers to build applications based on the building blocks provided by APIs. Hence, the quality of the API will have a direct impact on the software quality. Also, the software’s functionality and performance can be impacted due to unavailability of the third-party APIs. Also, the enterprises need to explore ways to make the application deliver optimal user experience without integrating too many APIs and platforms.

On the whole, ADD enables developers to build software applications by integrating the building blocks provided by APIs. The developers can integrate various APIs to enhance the application’s functionality, performance, and user experience without putting extra time and effort. But it is always important to focus on the quality of internal and external APIs to implement ADD effectively.


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