The Potential Pitfalls of API Design by Newbie Developers - FutureEnTech | Technology, Environment, Humanity, Lifestyle

The Potential Pitfalls of API Design by Newbie Developers

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When it comes to the number of pitfalls with any API design, the possibilities are endless. As a matter of fact, there are more things that can go wrong than right if you approach API designing just as you would any other development project. The major difference between developing an API and any other software program is that you need to do a lot more planning. You also need to be sure about what the API will help users achieve, and it should focus on that fact. Plus, post-deployment and acceptance support are just as important as developing it. That said we’ll examine some of the most common API design pitfalls and why they are overlooked.

Using SOAP!

If you chose to use SOAP and XML to develop an API then the chances of it being accepted diminish. If anything XML and the SOAP API design platform has been rendered obsolete. We agree that using SOAP does have its advantages but Restful API design is better. You will stand a better chance of having your API accepted by more developers if it is programmed in JSON and follows the REST protocol.

Insanely Difficult Errors 

Yes! It’s true that your API will be used by software developers who should be used to figuring out what an error means. However, with so many different APIs out there we are sure that there is a better and easier version.
If the error messages or errors your software spits out are too difficult to understand your API will be discarded in favor of something easier. So, it pays to make the errors easy for the developer to understand and the documentation that further elaborates on the error.

Not Adding Version Numbers to the API

When your API does not have a version number, it tells developers that this is the only version in existence, and there will not be another one. Most developers don’t want to use an API that is not going to be supported in the future. For instance, if there is a bug with the API, who’s going to fix it unless it is a community-driven API. Buy adding a version number you’re essentially telling developers that you will continue to support it. It also means that if you come up with another idea to add more functionality, you can put out an updated version with a new version number. So, software developers can choose to implement it.

A Lack of Security Features

You may think “Why would an API need security?” well it does and in this day and age developers take the security of their applications very seriously. If the API exposes things like names, addresses, emails, etc. that is a security issue that needs to be addressed.
The biggest mistake we have seen developers make is putting out an API which they know isn’t secure. It’s a colossal pitfall which can turn around and bite you in the back. SSL Certificates and authenticated log-ins are the bare minimum you should consider. Make sure that the security features are boasted about in your documentation and USPS.

Conclusion 

The mistake we’ve seen API developers make number in the dozens. Many of the mistakes are beyond the scope of this article. However, the above mentioned mistakes are made by a fair majority of beginners. We were once beginners ourselves and made many of these mistakes. But back when we started developing APIs SOAP was the standard, and everyone was using it. Though today’s standard is REST so make sure you know what you’re getting into.

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