Things Every Developer Should Know Before Building an API
With its innovative capabilities and feature sets, Application Programming Interfaces (API) can dramatically help organizations improve the way they serve clients. Today, the reach of APIs are not just limited to organizations, they are having a growing impact on every industry and even at home.
For a better understanding, here is a brief introduction to API. As the name suggests, API is a language that enables various intelligent products or services such as Google Maps talk to another like AccuWeather. To be more specific, it’s kind of an Esperanto for computers. Because these different platforms can exchange data effectively, working together through this common language, IT teams of organizations can combine their different capabilities, customizing products to suit the different client requirements.
Most of the organizations relying on closed systems, or that are not embracing innovative solutions could fail drastically in front of the innovations from APIs. Some of the newer APIs are. For instance, Twitter APIs are adapted to create a Google Spreadsheet which could help monitor a customer’s social media outreach.
While building an API, developers need to keep their focus on a few important aspects for faster and better end results.
The first and most crucial step of API development process is Documentation, which a lot of developers neglect. Not having proper documentation can simply result in the undermining of all good codes, because the users won’t be able to know how to use the developed API. Documentation should be written as easily understandable and with a focus to avoid getting complaint tickets and emails. Getting a ticket reflects that the developer missed some critical documentation part and should immediately update it. Good documentation means that the developer is competent and professional, and the services will be more successful and trustworthy.
HTTP Status Codes
Returning the HTTP Status Code 200 (OK) with an error message as a response is a completely wrong tendency. It directs the application on reacting to various requests. So if a return code that says that everything went OK, is sent for an error, it means that HTTP is not being utilized in the way it is intended to be used.
HTTP is an application protocol, and its codes should reflect the fact. Also this by not using HTTP code as they are intended to be used, REST is being broken, as 2xx is considered to contain response that has that resource as return object.