Once an API is accessible, internally or externally, it's being available for client consumption and application. It becomes a contract that should be upheld by the API provider. Rather like any contract, it's to be followed to avoid a breach with the buyer. This suggests that as a developer, you can't make any holistic changes to an API because this could break your consumer’s application or cause other issues.
The consequences of maintaining this contract, and also the ability to innovate and uplift this technique can become constrained. It's paramount that you just spend quality time on designing the upfront so as to reduce the risks that these constraints impose. With the correct design, the response to the dynamic needs is achieved while maintaining the integrity of the API contract.
This blog will provide you some insight on a way to have successful design reviews before the discharge of the API contract. Before we start read our previous blogs here for API lifecycle management and Mulesoft Integration. Let’s take a quick look over the essentials for the design first approach:
What is an API Contract?
An API Contract is the documentation of API. during this document, you detail the behaviour of your API, and details like endpoints urls, their actions, possible arguments, and samples of the responses. The contracts are often defined by the providers of the service and destined for the consumers of the API, in other words, for the businesses and developers which will use the API. The document is typically created by the event team. If a developer has the whole domain knowledge they might be able to compose the documentation alone. Otherwise they might need the assistance of a domain expert.
This contract is obtainable during a machine and a readable format for humans, in order that both of can agree upon. It may be something that both API providers and API consumers can agree upon, and obtain to figure out developing and delivering, then integrating and consuming. An API contract may be a sympathy of what the capabilities of a digital interface are, with applications to be programmed on top of.
Why Is API Design So Important?
Here are a number of the explanations as why an API Design is the key factor while maintaining the contracts:
1. To be easy to grasp so integration is straightforward and easy
2. To be documented, so the semantic behaviors are understood and not just syntactic
3. to make sure that accepted standards are followed like HTTP
The plan is to convert it to a personality's and machine-readable contract, like an OpenAPI document, from which the code is made as a foundation and also the API definitions are shared across the research and development (R&D) teams to start working in parallel while using mocks.
Designing APIs has also been given a brand new focus recently and its importance can not be understated. APIs should be designed with longevity in mind as making any changes to them, means changing the contract for the clients and maintaining API versioning.
What is API Design-first Approach?
While implementing APIs on an oversized scale, the most effective practise is to start out with an API design stage. This approach is termed API design-first, it's seldom referred to as API-first, schema-first, or design-first. The design-first approach demands that you design the API’s contract first before writing any code. This is a new approach, but is trending, especially with the use of API description formats.
At an initial stage, “design first” seems to imply that people are using other approaches, postpone or leave the design phase out altogether. This isn’t the meaning of Design First. Rather, it means people write down their API design in a way that both humans and computers can understand.
It also means that everyone on the team is speaking the same language, and every tool can leverage the same design. Companies and teams that embrace this approach can bridge the gap between design and development easily and streamline the entire procedure.
Design first vs code first:
The API description formats has two different approaches i.e. “Design First” and the “Code First” approach for API development. Code First approach is known as a traditional approach for building APIs. In this approach the development of code happens after the business requirements are laid out. Followed by eventually generating the documentation from the code. On the contrary the Design First approach advocates for designing the API’s contract first before writing any code. This is a relatively new development. To get a better understanding of the two approaches, let’s look at the process followed during the API lifecycle. Like any product, the concept of the API starts with the team identifying a business opportunity. This is followed by a strategic documentation of the needs that are proposed by the client. After the documentation, the API development cycle begins. There are two options here for the tech team i.e. design first and code first. Here we are advocating the design first approach. The first step in this approach is the contract, which enables the team for early feedback that saves cost and time for any further developments. Once the feedback loop is closed, there can be parallel development of the code and design simultaneously which leads to getting the API live faster as compared to the code first approach.
Use Case for Design First Approach
Here are some use cases for the design first approach:
A matured business partner who can share feedback looking at API Designs.
Cross Team Synergy for multi Team Scenario to avoid reworks.
Cross Team Synergy for multi Team Scenario to speed up parallel development.
Parallelizing Development within Application Team (API Owner & UX Designers).
By choosing the Design first approach, your enterprise can speed up the procedure of going live. Neebal’s API Integration services facilitate you with seamless transition and simple implementation. For more information contact us here: Neebal Technologies Pvt Ltd.
In our previous blog, we spoke about the 'Design First' approach. This blog will provide you more information on the tools that are used for API development for the design first approach. Before we start, here are some previous blogs that you may...
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