how to design API

Beginners’ guide to API design

Everybody would want to find out how to design a good API. Many books, articles, forums offer different solutions and guide you through the process. In this article, we will present you a beginner’s guide to API design and the most important principles you should follow.

It doesn’t matter what is your personal favorite style and idea, as the point here is to stick to some rules. The result will be a consistent, awesome designed API. These principles we are about to reveal to you know are universal for both Open and Private APIs.

Minimalism:

A process of API designing can be very complicated and challenging. Developers have headaches over API designs. Once a developer gets a headache, he might get off the right way. Yet, there is a solution to this problem. To prevent your API go astray, make it easy to understand. Developers wouldn’t want to deal with a too complicated API. Try to understand them in this case, as everybody is trying to get the things done in a smooth way.

How would you make your API easy to understand? You should focus on its essence. Once you define what is your API’s main function, you would already be on a good way to make it understandable to the others too. Go with the main feature, and then upgrade it with the others. A mess in the start would make a mess in the further process.

The other point here is to make your API minimalist. In other words – you should make an API that has only a few members per class. It would be great to make as many classes as it is possible. This contributes to an easier understanding of the API, too.

Consistency

Once the API lacks the consistency, it falls the same second. We have seen many situations like this. This is not a serious threat if you take it from the right perspective. You just have to make sure that you are using the same sequence for all functions, and basically – that is all. If it would be the opposite, random changes in sequences would confuse the developer, who would take much time to figure out the solution. As your main goal is to make your API widely adopted, follow the consistency principle.

Document everything

We can associate this principle with the first one. As we already mentioned, it is highly important that a developer understands your API. Documentation that lays behind every function and feature of an API makes it understandable. You might make a mistake and assume that a developer would understand something you haven’t explained through the documentation. Understandable API is a reliable API. Even if you might think that we stress out this principle too much, but believe us when we say that solid documentation gets the things done the right way.

Versioning

This is one of the primary principles of API design. In order to make the API adapted, use versioning effectively. You should never remove the previous version’s support once the new version is released. Leave the old version supported, because if you don’t, you will send suspicious signals. It would give off an impression that you are not serious about your work.

Let’s summarize

If you want a good designed, powerful API, it should have the following features:

  • let it be minimalistic,
  • make it easy to apprehend,
  • be intuitive,
  • document every feature and function,
  • lead it to readable code,
  • update new versions, but never forget about the old ones.

A designing process might be fun and exciting, but if you are a newbie in this domain, make sure to follow on our principles, as it will serve you well for the rest of your carrier.

Manoar Molla is pro blogger who is passionate to write anything that is related to SEO, business and marketing. He has written and published many articles on different blog

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