The importance and value of APIs for businesses means that developing a plan for proper API development is not optional, it’s crucial. The APIs with the most value for the enterprise are less like sets of code and more like curated products, catering to specific needs of customers. In this blog, we’ve gathered some of the best practices when it comes to developing a great API:
Key Principles for API Development
According to MuleSoft’s website, adopting some or all of the API development best practices can ensure the best chance of API success in your organization. The principles of API development MuleSoft has curated are as follows:
- Create expectations: Developers must know what is expected of them, when they should deliver, and what pain points they are looking to solve with API functionality.
- Service messaging: It is paramount to make sure the products and services you are looking to create or improve have APIs that provide access to align with business goals and lead to services that deliver value for clients.
- Case studies: You’ve got to prove you practice what you preach. Backing up assumptions with viable case studies can illustrate what improvements API adoption will give to clients.
- Documentation and support: The proper tools have got to be in place for the development team to document their progress, and address change management in order to expose the capabilities of a great API. Support for the development and implementation team is necessary and should be readily available.
- SDKs and libraries: Providing the needed resources to the development team ensures speed of service development and implementation by giving them resources that contain reusable code and processes.
Want to learn more about APIs? Check out our free API whitepaper here.
Best Practices When Planning an API
Understand Why You’re Building an API
Mike Stowe, a Mulesoft expert, said in his blog that the foundation of the foundation that is an API is understanding why you are building the API. Some key questions for developers to ask include:
- Who is our target user for this API
- Which of our products/ services do we want them to be working with?
- What are THEIR use cases for integrating with our API?
- What technologies will they be using to integrate with our API?
- What other services will they want our API to interact with?
List User Functionality of Your API
It’s important that, once the reason for building an API has been laid out, that you map out what exactly the API will do.
According to Stowe, “By building out the full list of functionality required and by creating these user stories you can see exactly how your users will be using your API, and how your API needs to work together. You can also involve customers at this point and ask them what features are important to them, allowing you to prioritize them or even find cases that you didn’t consider before.”
Think a Few Years Down the Road
Your API will, hopefully, be in use for years to come. But if you build it with only today’s tech in mind, that may not be the case. Adding “quick fixes” may seem easy in the moment, but everything you do should be thought out to make sure your API continues to do its job for years to come.
For more best practices, check out Stowe’s blog on MuleSoft’s website.