API-first software development for modern organizations

 As more organizations move to the cloud, they implement processes to deal with new microservices architectures, containerization, and continuous delivery. Whether they’re adopting cloud services or transitioning to a cloud infrastructure, an API-first approach can help you manage the complexity of working in the cloud.

The conventional code-first way to deal with application improvement now and then outcomes in delays, modify, or a disconnected frankenstein-esque experience for the designer, particularly in this cloud-driven scene.

An API-first methodology accepts the plan and advancement of an application programming interface (API) precedes the execution. Your group starts by making an interface for their application. After the API has been created, the group will depend on this interface to assemble the remainder of the application.

By presenting new highlights as an autonomous help got to by API, the remainder of the application can be sewed together, alongside some other future applications.

Design and build the API first, before building out the rest of the app.

In reality as we know it where speed-to-showcase holds a superior, for what reason would you invest additional energy to zero in on the API first?

When the API comes first

With an API-first approach, instead of starting with code, you could start with design, planning, mocks, and tests.

As you might already suspect, this process is aligned with the popular agile software development principle of iterating rapidly. This allows the team and any other stakeholders to weigh in on the proposed direction and functionality, early and often.

Gathering feedback at this early stage allows you to make changes more easily before a lot of time and effort is sunk into the project. Using mocks or an API development environment makes the current state of the project more accessible to both technical and non-technical team members.

By also separating the design of the API from its implementation, the architect is constrained only by the data model and business logic. Your API can now evolve unfettered by any existing user interface or legacy engineering frameworks.

Once the direction has been solidified, the design then serves as the contract that all teams can begin working towards in parallel, and only then does coding officially begin.

To drill down a little bit deeper on the API-first approach, let’s talk about API-first development and API-first design.

API-first development

This concept refers to developing the actual API first and foremost. When you’re developing new functionality, the functionality should first be exposed as an API in your organization. The developers responsible for the rest of the application will be the first consumers of this API. This ensures the quality, predictability, and stability to withstand web clients, mobile users, and other developer consumers. Other projects requiring this functionality can now independently consume the functionality via this API.

API-first design

This approach takes it a step further and requires planning the intended API’s functionality before building the API itself. What functionality will the API have? What data will it expose? What will the developer experience be like? How will it scale? How will we add new functionality in the future?

When people talk about API-first, sometimes they’re only referring to API-first development and sometimes they’re including API-first design as well. For the remainder of this article, API first will encompass both API-first development and API-first design.

Word of Caution: focusing on the design first does not mean ruminating endlessly on all the what-if scenarios. A good design should have the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances and accommodate new insights. As some teams can attest, mandating that specifications drive development can backfire.

Most developers still prefer documenting existing code as specifications, rather than writing the specification first. An interface is intended to be an abstraction for interacting with a system, while the implementation is the way the system does its work.

What does API first look like in modern organizations?

Some organizations launched as API-only businesses, like Twilio or Algolia, who are both known for offering their services most importantly as an API. Twilio virtualized traditional telecommunications infrastructure allowing developers to replicate any communications experience using APIs. The business recently announced Twilio Build, a partner program designed with an API-first approach.

Post a Comment