Myths of API Development
APIs have been making programmers’ lives easier ever since Sales force launched the first modern API. Soon, many companies followed suit. Although their history is relatively short, they are still crucial to modern app development process.
You can say API and GUI are two sides of the same coin. As much as we need GUI to make the development process easier, if you want to keep the app development process shorter, you need APIs. However, it seems people still have some misconceptions about APIs.
While countless pages have been written about APIs over the years, some myths are still thrown around the web as facts. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the more common myths and try to separate facts from fiction.
Myth #1: The API You’re Using Isn’t Going to Change
You always have to be careful when choosing an API. If the API comes from a good company that has impeccable reputation, you should be a little concerned. That’s because, APIs change all the time. Even the big companies are constantly changing their public API schemas. And while this may resolve certain problems, it creates new ones as well.
The problem with this is that finding an API that will meet your expectations – both technically and financially – would take a long time. Therefore, you need to be aware that some changes are bound to happen. But you’re probably wondering – aren’t these constant changes making large corporations lose a ton of customers?
Well these companies already have huge user-bases and years of experience in the industry. Even if they lose a few customers, they will find new ones pretty easily, without too much marketing. So your needs are not valued all that much, seeing how you’re just one of millions of users. Sometimes the better option is to use API of accompany with fewer clients, which really depends on your use of their service.
Myth #2: Metadata Isn’t Any Good
As you probably know, primary data – usually found in the API documentation – is valued more than metadata in the API world. However, that doesn`t mean that metadata is worthless – far from it actually. The main difference between metadata and primary data is that primary data is used by the software that integrates your API, while the primary data is vital to the users of that software.
On one hand, you’ll include a portion of your primary data in your documentation and spreadsheets for all users to read. Metadata, on the other hand, contains data like author information, credits to data sources, and all other information that’s been used in the making of the API. There’s no need to put this information in your documentation, however, it should still be there.
Metadata is very important to the use of API`s primary function, although, when we need to expose it, we don`t use standard methods. Developers also use metadata to add something new to the pre-existing HTTP. For instance, some developers use metadata when they want to add a new functionality to their API to adept it for a new use.
Of course, people who see finished product are far more interested in the primary data. But that doesn’t negate the fact that metadata is probably as useful and as needed as primary data. You just need to learn how to differentiate the two and learn their basic functions. When it’s all said and done metadata is, after all, data.
APIs come in a ton of different shapes and sizes. As a matter of fact, developers are always coming up with new and exciting business and enterprise APIs. Naturally, if you want to keep up with your competitors, you need to make some small changes every now and then. Adding new capabilities to pre-existing APIs, is also, nothing new.
That means, if you want make sure that your users know how to implement your API at all times, you need to design your API with future changes in mind. You should also leave room for changes in your documentation as well. In order to accomplish this, you need to use a good rest API documentation tool like Stoplight, which will give you fill control of the documentation process.
Every API needs to be very well thought through and planned, so a top to a bottom design plan should be mandatory, no matter how big or small your organization is. This strategy will limit the confusion of your user, should you make some changes down the line. Remember, you need to plan every step of the way with the end-users in mind.
The Bottom Line
In this article, we’ve looked at some of the most common API misconceptions. The world of APIs is a complicated one so misunderstandings are bound to happen from time to time. But now that you know that all of the myths above aren’t all that true, you’ll be able to have a better grasp of APIs and design one without any problems.
With that, we’re finally done. We hope you enjoyed our article and that you found it interesting and helpful. As always, if you have any additional questions, feel free to ask them by leaving a comment in the comment section below. One of our staff members will answer all of your questions ASAP.