APIs are everywhere, and you have likely already interacted with a website or service using an API today. While visitors and users might not know the intricacies of the API, developers do, and they don’t want your API to be difficult to use. If this happens, they are less likely to keep using it or recommend it. Developers can build great APIs, which people will love using. This article will focus on the rules they need to follow to do just that.
Create Good Documentation
Many developers do not like creating documentation but doing so is crucial for user experience. Developers hate using undocumented APIs because they do not want to spend their limited resources trying to figure things out by themselves. Good documentation is like packaging that entices a developer to look inside to see what the API is about and capable of. Without this packaging, they are less likely to engage.
When creating documentation, you have to ensure you include all API methods. These include requests and responses, their descriptions, and what users can expect. Once you are done with these, you can go into modern detail explaining other intricate parts of the API. Augment your APIs with tutorials on parts that few developers will use, but that are crucial for taking full advantage of the API.
Consistency and Reliability
If you are always changing our API and how it works, you risk alienating the developers you want to keep using your API. You will need to keep your APIs working even when you update them, especially if you have paying customers who already use these older versions.
A good idea is to add a version number to the API URL. Adding something like V1 to the URL to indicate a version means the URL for the second version, which will use V2, will be different and you will not break existing code that uses older URLs.
Also, it is a good idea to jump to a new version whenever you change the data format and supported data types. Don’t forget to keep a changelog for developers who would like to jump to the new version.
Your API should always be available for those who are using it. This is extremely crucial if you are working on a business API that sits at the core of a business’s operations because the business will suffer if that API goes down.
Additionally, ensuring your API is always available gives people the confidence to use the API knowing it will always be there. Ensuring API availability is a crucial part of ensuring and supporting an API first business model where all services, software, and apps are tied to an API that supplies all of them with the data they need.
You should ensure your API is secure while also making sure doing so does not make it difficult to use. You should not consider any authorization and authentication solution that requires more than five minutes to get working. Token-based authentication is easy to implement and paired with SSL, it should provide adequate security.
Consider also integrating OAUTH which is also secure and easy to implement.Developers can create APIs that are easy to use and that people will love using. Keeping things simple, ensuring the API is always available, and keeping it secure will give people confidence when using your API, especially in cases where they use it to create critical products and services.
Phoneia.com (September 19, 2022). The Rules to Follow When Creating Web APIs. Recovered from https://phoneia.com/en/the-rules-to-follow-when-creating-web-apis/