Divergent Techvolution: How APIs Fulfill the Original Promise of Service-Oriented Architecture

What is an API?

An API is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. In other words, an API is the messenger that delivers your request to the provider that you’re requesting it from and then delivers the response back to you.

The principle of API abstraction enables speed and agility

One of the chief advantages of APIs is that they allow the abstraction of functionality between one system and another. An API endpoint decouples the consuming application from the infrastructure that provides a service. As long as the specification for what the service provider is delivering to the endpoint remains unchanged, the alterations to the infrastructure behind the endpoint should not be noticed by the applications that rely on that API.

Terminologies

a) API Key: When an API request through a header or parameter to recognize the requester, the authorized code passed into the request is said to be an API Key.

Working of API

Suppose you opened some XYZ app/website to book a flight. You filled the form — you entered the departure and return date, city, flight, and other relevant details — and submitted. With a fraction of seconds, a list of flights appears on the screen along with the price, timings, seat availability, and other details. How this actually happens?

Tools for Developing an API ( like a PRO… Like Jay Dwayne Lol! )

While there are a plethora of tools and technologies equipped into the process of creating an API, the popular tools and products for developing APIs for developers are:

Must-Have Features of an Efficient API

Modification timestamps/Search by criteria: An API should let the users search data based on different criteria, like a date. This is because it’s the changes (update, edit and delete) that we consider just after the first initial data synchronization.

Best Practices for Building the Right API

a) Use Throttling: App Throttling is a great practice to consider for redirecting overflow of traffic, backup APIs and safeguarding it from DoS (Denial of Service) attacks.

WORKING OF AN API

Imagine a waiter in a restaurant. You, the customer, are sitting at the table with a menu of choices to order from, and the kitchen is the provider who will fulfill your order.

Types of APIs

There are numerous types of APIs. For example, you may have heard of Java APIs, or interfaces within classes that let objects talk to each other in the Java programming language. Along with program-centric APIs, there are also Web APIs such as the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Remote Procedure Call (RPC), and perhaps the most popular — at least in name — Representational State Transfer (REST). There are 15,000 publicly available APIs, according to Programmable Web, and many thousands of more private APIs that companies use to expand their internal and external capabilities.

How APIs deliver business value

Companies invest in APIs, not only for their technical elegance, but because they offer improved speed to market for new products and services. In the following we explore this in detail.

What it takes to deliver APIs: implications for delivery organisations

A key difference, which appears multiple times in this article, is the notion of how APIs are different to SOA and other enterprise IT approaches because of the way they are delivered. Agile and self-organising teams with development, infrastructure, and automation skills are often seen as the response, but there is much more to it. The transition to an API enabled enterprise requires large changes to the traditional way of planning, building, and running IT — we call it the two speed operating model for IT.

APIs for the future — beyond mobile and channels

Moving forward, there are three key roles for APIs in the future beyond the typical areas of mobile and channel: moving to the core of the enterprise, nanoservices7, and connecting to the Internet of Things.

With Great Functionality Comes Great Responsibility

APIs are pretty sweet, however if badly designed, they can also frustrate your developers to no end. Here are some criteria that I think is useful when designing APIs:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT API DEVELOPMENT

1. What is REST API and SOAP API?

REST (Representational State Transfer) API is a software architectural style that describes a complete set of constraints to be employed for building Web services. Whereas, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a protocol much complex by adding more standards than REST, such as security

2. How do I make a good RESTful API?

Making a good RESTful API is easier when you follow these practices:-

3. What is API and types of API?

API (Application Programming Interface) is a collection of instructions, and requirements that let a software or mobile application utilize the features/services of other applications, platform or devices for exceptional services.

4. What is JSON API?

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is an encoding scheme created to eradicate the need for an ad-hoc code for each app to interact with servers in a particular manner.

Jay Dwayne is an interactive Software developer & Graphic designer striving to craft memorable experiences on the digital canvas. Currently based in Nairobi.