What is an API First Design Method?

Implementing an API-First approach to your project enables you to design an API that is consistent and adaptable, regardless of what development projects it’s applied to. Utilising an API description language for your API key helps to produce a contract for how the API connects with other programs – even when the language at the back end of these systems is unidentified. APIs do not exist in a vacuum, therefore work together and planning with company stakeholders is crucial in the design procedure. Putting in place an API First Design Strategy needs you to think beyond the present design process.  

The Increased Popularity of the API-First Approach

In today’s world, both humans and machines are consuming large amounts of data. Humans consume data through applications, often from a range of devices: smartphones, desktops and tablets. Businesses need to construct apps that look good on all devices as responsiveness is a key factor in the user experience. APIs enable businesses to separate capabilities into separate services (microservices). Creating apps that are based on microservices can enable an enhanced user experience on a range of devices.

Benefits of an API-First Approach

An API-first approach to building apps delivers many benefits which include:

API Development Teams can Work in Correspondence with One Another

Implementing a contract enables API developers to continue to work on alternative sides of the API concurrently. This enables you to reduce time and cost which is related to waiting for app updates. Consequently, app developers can draft APIs and positively test any dependencies which are based on the recognised contract. An improvement in productivity and efficiency levels could occur as a result.

Reduced Cost of Application Development

API-first approach enables code to be reused and recycled from project to project, this allows development teams to be able to have baseline construction which they can start working from. Taking out the need of developers to create code from scratch reduces the time and cost needed to complete the project. Furthermore, API developers can quickly spot faults with the API and more frequently without any code, enabling integrations to be smoother with other applications.

Lower Risk of Breakdown

APIs are an essential part of their operations for most companies, impacting all things from sales and marketing to customer-facing apps that represent the company’s brand.  An API failure can be damaging for anyone, however, taking an API-first approach can reduce the possibility of an API failure which is down to its reliability, stability and consistency of application.

How has Amazon used API-First Approach?

The number of companies that are taking the API-first approach has increased in the last few years. Companies such as Amazon follow an API-First Approach, this should guide other software businesses in following suit.

The retail giants have proved that the sooner the API-First approach is linked to the business’ growth strategy, the better. Amazon has made everything that does with internal systems via APIs. More than 10 years ago, a company-wide order was issued to get all technical staff to embrace APIs. Following this mandate, the API First strategy became ingrained into the company’s culture.

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January 20, 2021
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