How to define the best API design methodology

Developer’s goal is to develop a stable data model and then create a public API or an API for the web application. These are some logical steps in this phase. Yet, a developer should be careful with these. Once you make an API available to the public, there is no turning back to make any change. Try to make it perfect, so you don’t have the need to fix anything. Start from a solid API design concept. This will be the base for the following steps.

People express their opinions about the API design methodology through the articles and forums on the internet. However, don’t trust everything you read. Many suggestions you will find online have implementation problem in the real world. Some of them are written from a subjective perspective too. Take everything with a reserve and gather information. API design methodology takes much more than one way to do it. You should know the answers to some questions even before you start the process. Define what authentication will you use, or which formats you want to accept. Try to answer it as straightforward as possible.

Many companies, such as stoplight.io, put an imperative in front of themselves – to design, implement, and maintain good APIs. This process requires clear business determination in order to define the API design methodology. It should meet the challenges implementation brings, as it a goal is to maintain your APIs to last.

API design takes much more than plain URLs, headers, payloads, and HTTPs. We will present you an API design methodology that will result in taking advantage of HTTP and the Web. 

API design basic requirements

  • Make use of sensible web standards,
  • Develop a friendly API,
  • Make it easy to explore via web browsers,
  • It should provide an excellent user experience,
  • Simple and consistent designs are easier to adopt,
  • An API should be compatible with many UIs,
  • A flexible and powerful API is efficient and produces a balance between meeting standards and usability.

Which values actually matter for API design?

In order to make a good API design methodology, you should make a list of priorities. As we already mention, URL design, HTTP features, and payloads design are surely valuable for the implementation, but these are not crucial values of the API design methodology.

The point here is to make the essential features compatible with the expressed and described services.

A good design methodology requires a consistent and repeatable set of steps. A good methodology is sharable to other developers and designers, as they have a mission to coordinate their activities through the implementation. It is important to note that implementation details make a changeable category and these can be modified independently of the design process, but you have to make sure they are properly separated.

A proven guide on how to develop a successful design methodology

  1. Gather all the elements,
  2. Document state transactions,
  3. Define message formats,
  4. Define all the used descriptors in a profile document,
  5. Share this document with developers and start writing a test code,
  6. Publish the profile document and your URL so that the others can use them.

Conclusion

As we already mentioned, there are many possible ways on how to create a good API methodology. We presented you one, that really creates an optimal designed API. As you work accord to our steps, you are, of course, allowed to insert some additional steps if you believe they will benefit your team and organization.

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