6 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Web Application Programing Interface (API)

As most techies already know, the acronym API stands for “Application Programing Interface.” Even so, it only makes sense to open this article up with a quick definition. To put it simply, an API is an interface with a set of functions that enable developers to access specific features and data from applications, operating systems and/or other services.

Have you ever experienced an “API code explosion” after receiving an HTML error page instead of the JSON that you had been expecting? While some of today’s frameworks can have developer APIs up and running in minutes, there are still errors that frequently occur, and building a stable and secure API can sometimes be tedious if you are not constantly on the lookout for specific types of errors. The following article, provided by guest author Maria Brown at 21Twelve Interactive, will give you more insight into avoiding mistakes and preventing errors when working with Web API. More from Maria Brown…


Building API Features before Proper Documentation

If you are searching for the most common examples of mistakes while building API, a lot of developers tend to build API features before documentation and sometimes the whole plan goes to waste as the features have been added without considering other important factors. In many cases, website owners face cost-related issues and then it becomes a challenge for them.

We have seen many to face similar problems and if you are looking forward to avoiding this problem, the one and the only solution is documentation. It is essential to write the documentation at first and it will help you to avoid the mistakes easily. We’d suggest the readers write your API documentation first and it will enhance the user experience in a unique way. This practice also offers a user-focused platform so that you can take the right decision easily.


Notifying Users about API Alteration

Another common mistake faced by the developers is notifying users about any alteration. In many cases, website owners tend to change the logo or appearance of the website and the embedded API is changed sometimes. You might be thinking that a simple redesign of the web won’t affect the business however in most of the cases customers questioned about this change and asked why developers directly changed all these things instead of trying it at first.

API plan design-build requires proper expertise and time to build your API in an effective way and this type of error can be avoided just by notifying the users about upcoming changes or opt-in alternatives. There are many companies who have provided opt-in alternatives for the users before introducing their new API and they have received promising feedback.


Don’t Ignore Task Automation Services

Sometimes you need to connect different APIs together for various purposes and task automation services can help you to do it in an efficient manner. Nowadays you can avail various services like IFTTT, Zapier and CloudElements for connecting various APIs together and a lot of people now tend to get task automation services to simplify their business and tend to get more traffic on their website.

There are many companies who tend to ignore task automation services due to their small group and lose a significant amount of traffic generated from the same. In case you are willing to API error fix and lead your business towards growth, you shouldn’t ignore the importance of task automation services. Many companies have shared their views on the difference of having a task automation service and they told about 10-12% of their traffic is generated from the task automation services.


Never Ignore a Plan for API Support

API support is an important thing for an online business and many companies tend to provide API support with their engineering team. This decision is okay at the beginning however as the reach grows you need to rely on a specific plan for API support. Otherwise, you have to provide API support with the help your developers and they will get tired of providing support to the users.

We have previously mentioned that the API plan design-build requires proper planning and vision in order to tackle the future needs of the users. If you are thinking about an effective API building, we’d suggest you plan early about API support and it will help you to develop your business without any issues.


Ignoring Requests as Duplicates

Unnecessary overhead is a concern when you run a website and ignoring duplicate requests from the users help your site to work better. In many cases, developers have shared their experience of ignoring legitimate requests from the users as they were busy detecting the duplicate requests rather than identifying the proper requests from the users.

This is another common mistake faced by the developers while building API and if you are willing to service a request, the idempotency key would be an ideal thing to manage common API error fix. You easily service request with the same key with the help of cache and this how you can avoid such errors easily.


Giving Same Rate Limit to Everyone

The rate limit is another important thing and one needs to pay attention to the same. In many cases, companies tend to set a parameter on the basic rate limit. This is all right until you start gaining users and feel the need for an increased rate limit. It would be a tough job to increase the limit once it is completed and hence setting the same rate limit can be troublesome for you. If you are willing to avoid such API mistakes, you need to set flexible rate limits so that you can change it during an emergency.


The Verdict…

These are some of the most common mistakes committed by the developers during API plan design-build and we hope readers have got a basic idea on them. We hope the guidelines will help our readers to avoid the mistakes while building API next time and all the tips are shared by expert professionals and you can try it now. In case you know someone, who is also facing similar problems while building their API and you can help them by sharing the article.


Author Bio

Maria Brown is Content Writer, Blogger and Social Media Optimizer for 21Twelve Interactive – which is a top WordPress Development Company in India and the United States. She believes in sharing her strong knowledge on entrepreneurship and helps to develop the web for business.