Best Practices for Designing a Great API


APIs are crucial for seamless interconnectivity of apps providing the best user experience to developers and end-users. With the increasing popularity of connected devices and integration of web or mobile apps with other platforms, designing easy-to-use and efficient APIs has become more important. When it comes to custom API development, companies hire experienced API developers to get the same suited to their websites, web or mobile apps. A well-designed API is high performing, easy-to-use and understand, and facilitates developers to make applications as per the project requirements. 

So, what are the best practices that experienced API providers employ to build efficient Restful or other APIs? Read this blog to find out more about these practices.

1. Knowing Use Case for Superb Documentation

Knowing the specific use case is essential to creating great documentation that makes it easier for developers to understand the docs before integration. The docs should show examples of request/response cycles. Any updating in the API endpoints must be reflected in your documents as well.

2. Collaborative Design Approach

Proficient API developers use a collaborative approach in API design that means they consult all API stakeholders or API consumers before the design. Involving all the right people earlier in the design process, sharing mock designs with all stakeholders, integrating API designs with the coding workflows, and incorporating API governance by getting stakeholders to agree on various aspects of the API design are some of the key aspects of the collaborative approach.

3. Internal Consistency Maintenance

Whether you design web APIs, or APIs for mobile applications for companies’ internal use or public, maintaining consistency in the style and format of API is crucial. For this, API developers must ensure that the API specification document prepared by contributions from multiple stakeholders like product owners, developers and technical writers for custom API development is clean and well-organized. Creating a style guide, publishing API specs to version control for board visibility, and separating API design from the documentation are some crucial ways to build an organized API specification.

4. Using an Established Convention Whenever Possible 

API developers should follow the proven best practices rather than getting creative in the design as creativity may render errors in the design leading to ambiguity. It would take more time to correct the same later, leading to time wastage.

5. Use Standard HTTP Error Codes

Handling errors corresponding to an app or a web API and providing standard HTTP error messages make it easy for developers and API maintainers to understand and troubleshoot the problem. Any standard error code with a proper message facilitates users to take corrective actions and resolve the issue.

6. Using SSL/TLS certificate for Fool-proof Security

Security is one of the most important concerns for which API developers need to load an SSL/TLS certificate and use it for fool-proof security. With a suitable SSL certificate, a client can easily send or receive private information to/from the server and it promotes seamless and secure connection and usage.

Besides these, versioning one’s APIs and caching data are some ways to enhance performance and facilitate seamless connectivity and integration.

 Tag: api design practices