A Complete Guide to API Development – Importance, Working, Tools, Terminology and Best Practices

Application programming interface development and integration simplify communication with multiple parties. Your Mobile app can exchange data and functionalities flawlessly with a high level of promised security. Being an entrepreneur, you need to gain an understanding of APIs thoroughly to stay aligned with your mobile app development company. A better understanding of technical concepts delivers you a competitive edge over other entrepreneurs who are not strong in their technical understanding.


By the end of this article, you will grasp a thorough knowledge of the Application programming interface, it’s working, its need, types, protocols, and how to integrate it into your mobile app.

How an API works?

With API, companies open their features and functionalities to third-party apps. The products and services communicate with each other flawlessly, saving time and resources for mobile app developers. Even developers do not have to know what is happening behind the scenes after integrating an API.

Here is how an API works:

APIs sit between mobile apps and servers, mediating to transfer of data between multiple parties.

  1. A mobile app requests and calls the API to fetch information.
  2. API then connects to the web server of external enterprises.
  3. The enterprise server sends a response to the API.
  4. API returns the data to the mobile app.

The complete process takes place with a graphical interface in a mobile app aligning with modern UI/UX modern trends.

Example of working of an API

While making payments through the mobile app, customers have to fill in the mode of payment according to the instructions. The API created by the payment processing company performs all the required tasks delivering the response to the mobile app if payment has been made successfully or not. Here the payment provider company is responsible for all the security needs of customers.

The need for APIs in your mobile app business

You must be wondering what the need is for APIs in my mobile app. APIs are very important for enterprises. It simplifies the complete process of information exchange between enterprises and third-party apps. Here is why you need them.

  • Better collaboration: “75% of individuals believe that their company’s use of APIs has significantly enhanced their customer experience.” Why because APIs improve collaboration between multiple parties. When apps contact each other seamlessly, the two businesses share a relationship too. Without API, mobile apps will lose connectivity and ultimately lack productivity and performance.
  • Flawless innovations: When companies collaborate with each other, they share great opportunities from their collaboration. For example, Stripe Began partnering with giant enterprises worldwide and registered their valuation at $36 Billion. Companies can automate workflows. They can also improve their enterprise ecosystem by adopting and discussing innovative approaches after collaborating with multiple enterprises.
  • Monetization of APIs: If you are focusing on Application programming interface development services, then you can use APIs to scale your business. For example, some companies sell a package of a number of APIs to third parties for a price. Although APIs are generally free, you can monetize them. AccuWeather issued 11,000 API keys to thousands of developers and generated massive revenue in just 10 months.
  • Capable security: APIs add security to your mobile app while it transfers data to the server and takes responsibility. APIs use a high level of security through authentication tokens, signatures, and transport layer security encryption.

API examples to throughout understand the concept

Now that we have gone through the theoretical information let us support our knowledge through live examples. Here are some API examples to add further to your knowledge.

  • Universal Logins: In mobile apps, social logins are a basic requirement. Whenever you sign in using Google or other accounts, the companies let mobile apps use their APIs to save the time and effort of users.
  • Payment processing: When you pay using UPI apps, it is the API provided by the payment provider that performs all the background work.
  • Travel booking: While booking flights, mobile apps use APIs provided by flight companies.
  • Google maps: Whenever you see an integration of google Maps in travel and other apps, Google’s API lets mobile apps perform the navigation systems.

APIS types and Protocols

There are various types of APIs assisting applications in accessing information from multiple channels.

There are 4 types of web-based APIs that are integrated into mobile apps too:

  • Composite APIs: Multiple data or services allowing developers to use multiple endpoints with a single request. Composite APIs are complex to build, requiring expert mobile app developers.
  • Partner APIs: As the name suggests, partner APIs are strategic business partners. Developers ask for the credentials before letting other parties use their APIs.
  • Open APIs: These are public APIs that can be accessed with HTTP protocol.
  • Internal APIs: Businesses build their own APIs that remain hidden from external users. Enterprises build internal APIs to improve productivity and efficiency in their business operations. However, internal APIs require internal or external mobile app development companies for API development due to their complex nature.

Here are the different types of API protocols.

APIs have defined certain rules specifying the accepted data types for the users.

  • XML-RPC: APIs define specific XML formats to exchange data.
  • JSON-RPC: This protocol uses JSON instead of the XML format.
  • SOAP: XML-based protocol letting users request and receive data via HTTP and SMTP.
  • REST: The interface must align with certain architectural constraints.

API development and Management

Whether you are opting for internal API development or for a public, you can follow the below-mentioned steps to build a flawless API.

API Development steps

  1. Define your goals and intended users. Your API must solve a problem that developers are facing. You must ensure that your API provides a better development experience.
  2. Design the API before actually writing the code. Visualize and prepare an in-depth architecture of your API reflecting the needs of developers. Here you have to focus on the usability, reliability, scalability, testability, and security of your API development.
  3. Start the Application programming interface development process, revamp it effectively, and monitor your API before moving to further steps.
  4. Test and monitor your API so that it is flawless. There shall not be any bugs that might hinder the development experience of users.

API Management tools

If you are a business targeting API development as your primary domain, you must now ensure the Management of the APIs you build. There are multiple platforms to manage your APIs:

  • Microsoft Azure
  • IBM API Connect
  • AWS Cloud Trail
  • Google Developer Portal

Conclusion

API simplifies communication with multiple parties. You might have to integrate number of APIs for your mobile app development project, so it is necessary for you to understand the core knowledge associated with it. Maps, payment gateways and login APIs are some of the widely used APIs. The development and management tools assist developers to build or modify the APIs. Finally, if you want to integrate API in your mobile app, you have to hire mobile app developers because it requires a good level of expertise in coding department.

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