Designing and Developing a Public API: 8 Crucial Questions to Ask ?

api design
  • February 21, 2018
  • Vishnu

Application Programming Interfaces or APIs have come a long way from being a simple tool for niche developers to the center point of business strategies ranging from customer service, partnerships to sales and marketing.

In spite of being business driven tools, public APIs are intricate pieces of software, which should be approached like a project of software development, concerning its planning and designing. If you are all set to avail the services of an expert API developer, then make sure that you have answers for the top 8 questions before proceeding.

Top 8 Questions While Developing and Designing a Public API

What Would Be Your Public API’s Business Vale?

Private APIs always aim at enhancing the internal software and back-end systems. But, before designing public APIs, it is essential to pay attention to the first step of establishing API’s business value to help you get an idea about the project’s structure.

Find out what would be the business value that you wish the API to deliver, such as monetization or improved market penetration. Understand what kind of business outcome value you are expecting from your public API. You can try to identify the business value of the API by identifying potential revenue resources, revenue venues for the future, use cases, interface to interact with your clients, streamlining, user stories, increasing the value of the partnerships, and organizing the vendor management.

Also consider holding a cost and benefit analysis, as APIs can be expensive. Make sure that you stay aware of the challenges in the process of in-depth planning and consider if this effort will be fruitful for your business in the long run.

What Is The Nature Of Your API Audience And What Are Their Demands?

It is imperative to know who your API audience would be to help in determining the right request and response model to cater to your API. To have your Public API specially designed for your audience, pay attention to the expectation they might have to structure the data that is efficient and organized.

User Experience (UX) is a crucial factor in the success of a Public API, and aids you make better technical decisions. Make sure that you offer enough documentation to the developers, as they are considered as the major consumers of public APIs.

How Resourceful Would Your API Be?

How vital your API will be for the people at present and in the future? Determining the structure and security of the API will help you get an idea which assets are essential. When you are keen to build an API for streamlining your way of working with your partners or supply chain, it will help you determine the areas of permissions.

For those of you doing business having specific regulatory norms and compliance requirements, this period is crucial for performing a double check to know which assets must be granted access for sharing.

What Would Be Your Data Format And Software Schema?

Always remember that it is impossible to build public APIs that work with, “one size fits all’ principle. Consider the use cases for deciding the software schema design that is very effective for organizing your API efficiently.

Also know how the data will be formatted and choose from JML or JSON, the compact choice for API that can be a perfect interface for the web apps that are based on JavaScript. XML is a compelling option but demands a lot of work from the programming side.

Is It Important To Have Usage Limits Set For Your API?

Both the private APIs and public APIs require minimum line of defense to prevent abuse and overuse for protecting the control and server expenses. The application limits can range from the cost limits, call volume, throttling to the level of data transmission.

You can also hold a discussion with the developer and customer service teams to decide on the usage volume and arrive at the limit that would be beneficial for your business as well as for the users.

Which Style of Writing for Your API?

The writing style of API communicates with its architecture. There are two types of writing styles for Public APIs, such as Simple Object Access Protocol or SOAP and REST API paradigm where each API writing style is loaded with distinct benefits. The HTTP Protocol based REST is a simple style of writing that can be used for scaling and building API efficiently while SOAP is a complex architecture.

Do You Have Plans To Monetize Your Public API?

API acts as the layer which links services and latest applications to robust, multifaceted digital platforms while helping the online businesses scale high at a swift pace. Know why you have to build a public API and find out the outcome value it will bring to your business, such as monetization.

It can be identified by checking the potential venues for revenue, user stories, improving partnerships, enhancing your interface style with the clients and streamlining the vendor management. When someone prefers to make more calls than the ones offered by the current agreement, then you can ask them to pay for the extra calls.

How Will Be The Success Of The API Measured?

When you are ready to decide the ROI for the public API, it is essential to know which metrics should be gathered for the analysis. These metrics would enable you to realize the means of informing you how the API is performing. With some specific metrics as the parameters, it would be easier for you to know the rate of success of your public API in an accurate fashion.

As soon as you complete building your public API and assets are exposed for the developers to work on, pay attention towards maintaining stability as well as performance. Remember, the developers rely on your public APIs to improve the functionality of their apps and to equip it with evenly distributed processes and fully functional features.

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