6 Reasons For API-Driven Software Development
If you only use a traditional functionality-first approach, you’re missing out on a faster and streamlined way to build more products. We’ve put together reasons why API-driven development (ADD) is beneficial for your software.
Before now, developers used a functionality-first strategy. While this strategy emphasizes core functionality, ADD prioritizes the application programming interface before creating the rest of the software around it.
Implementing the API as a followup activity after writing the user interface code first can be tricky because developers might have to force the API to suit the software’s core functionalities. This usually leads to poor user experience because parts of the application’s core could be hard to reconcile with the API.
A core-first approach also subjects developer teams to more barriers, resulting in long delays.
Here are 6 reasons why developers now prefer API-driven development:
Consistency, Reusability, and Broad Interoperability
Developing products and platforms in an API ecosystem makes your code more consistent and reusable. Therefore, starting your software development by architecting and building a robust API framework ensures the efficiency and reusability of code. As a result, APIs become the core structure in the digital value chain, putting them at the heart of value creation.
Supports System Scalability
Using API to develop a product gives you a solid foundation to develop core functionalities within a refined architecture. It also provides a core that your software team can use to develop other products or platforms. This means for every new product you want to create, the API acts as the cornerstone for the framework and delivery process. API’s can be potentially re-used and expanded reducing the overall effort on the project.
Task Automation and Parallel Development
In cases where different teams work on the software’s front and back ends, there’s no need for them to collaborate every time. That isn’t to say they don’t work together. Rather, the API structure is the only thing they need to agree on. Individual developer teams can create mock API’s using API documentation tools like Swagger or Postman, allowing them to explore different API designs and test APIs before deploying them. Unlike the code-first strategy, you won’t have to wait for other teams to finish coding different parts of the API or even deeply understand how things work.
Reduces Software Development Costs
API driven development reduces the time and expenses associated in developing software by allowing reusability and better unit testing of new code. As a result, developer teams can identify and resolve integration issues quickly making the software ready for production faster and with fewer defects.
Adds a New Source of Revenue
Salesforce.com, the leading CRM software is a good example of an API driven architecture. The organization also offers its APIs as a service. And you can do the same. Offering your API as a product provides extensibility and increases the adoption of your software. There are two ways to monetize your API:
- Bundled Payment Model – customers pay for the API access the same way they pay for other products you offer.
- Pay Per Month/Call Model – you provide a smooth online payment gateway that integrates with your API management service. This allows the audience to pay and track their usage from one place.
Once customers integrate your API into their workflow, you’ll be able to retain them for longer.
Improves Developer Experience And Software Quality
Since developers use APIs daily, a well documented API framework promotes better overall experience for developers and results in a better software quality. Units of code can be developed and tested against the API’s allowing the front-end developers to work independently hence reducing bottle-necks and frustration. New developers can be more easily trained and onboarded allowing for a seamless project improving efficiency and morale of project teams.
Like any worthwhile innovation, API-driven development presents some challenges. The most common include:
- Consistency & Compatibility – As more APIs are built, it’s difficult to keep them consistent with set standards. This is also challenging when team members change, as developers might not implement everything the same way, causing inconsistencies in the APIs’ design.
- Security – Attackers can use loopholes to attack an API or another application that depends on it.
- Maintenance – Due to new technologies and devices, you have to periodically upgrade your applications so that they function properly with other applications and technologies.
While the adoption of API-driven development is still at its early stages, it offers a great chance to improve developers’ productivity by eliminating complexity. Implementing an API-first strategy will take some work, but it is ultimately a faster and streamlined way to build products and gain more revenue.