The term “Application Programming Interface” or API is one of the biggest terms in the world of software and app development today. Almost every brand is releasing its APIs for the consumers. These APIs can be used by developers to create apps, web browsers, or operating systems. APIs have gained sudden popularity over time and are widely used in the industry. They’ve gained even more traction since the introduction of the Open API platform.
Open API can help in making the app and software development process easier and more flexible. In this guide, we will be exploring this article to learn more about the future of Open API and how it works.
Difference Between API and Open API
APIs allow two apps or software to interact with each other. By leveraging API, developers can access certain parts or features of an app. This is known as a user interface that allows the users to interact with the software apps. As a user, you’re using an API whenever you’re using Twitter, Instagram, the weather app, and others.
Your smartphone connects to the internet whenever you use an app and the server receives the data. The server then sends back the information you asked for. Everything you see on your device follows this same rule.
An API that is available to the public for access is known as an open API. Third-party apps can use this API to interact with other software or app. The API owner can publish these APIs on several platforms to allow the users to use them.
Open APIs can be freely shared among users and they’re made by relying on open-source technology. Public APIs on the other hand have limitations on sharing.
Open APIs are completely different from the old versions of APIs. Private API could only be accessed by authorized personnel. Only the API owner can make changes in the API. This makes collaboration easy, but there’s not much room for flexibility and sharing.
Back in the day, the development process used to be slower because the whole process was dependent on a single group. Open APIs have managed to solve this problem, but it has their fair share of security concerns. Open API is open to all the users and it allows for faster updates, better compatibility, and flexibility. The best part is that the management still has control over their APIs, and no one can access the backend data.
Open API Specification
Open API Specification or OAS is vendor-neutral and it’s a type of API that is based on HTTP. This was first done by SmartBear Software back in 2015. OAS is currently maintained and handled by the OpenAPI Initiative, which is a part of the “Linux Foundation.” It has a completely open governance system, all the meetings are public so anyone can suggest ideas and propose improvements.
The Open nature structure has allowed it to build a wide range of tools and machine-readable open API descriptions. These documents are known as documents in Open API terminology. The ease that the Open API landscape provides to developers ensures that it’s widely used in the industry.
OAS refers to APIs that are based on HTTP, but it can also be used for similar protocols.
Best Practices of Open API
All the developers must follow some general open API best practices that allow them to build new open API solutions easily and seamlessly. Here are some of the best practices of Open API:
1. Design-First Approach
There are two ways to develop an API solution, you can either choose code-first or design-first. Choosing a design-first approach is more effective as there are many APIs that can easily be created in code compared to what you can do using an open API.
2. Single Source of Information
It doesn’t matter how creative your design is, you should always use only one source of information. This is an important practice to keep in mind. Using data from several sources can lead to major problems when you move ahead.
3. Open API Documents to Source Control
Open API is a great source document and it can be used in several automated processes, such as device testing and solution rendering. You should make sure to upload these files first to the source control.
4. Open API Documents Available to Users
Although most documents are well-rendered, they can be extremely useful for API users, and they may need to access the Open API source description. This is why you should make sure to make the document available to the users.
5. Don’t Write Open API Documents by Hand
Even if you are proficient, you shouldn’t create Open APIs by hand. This can be incredibly impractical and time-consuming for large projects. Open API editors and Domain-specific languages can be incredibly helpful.
Advantages of Open API
Open APIs offer endless benefits to the users, and some of them include:
- Low cost
- Easy to build and implement
- Allows for greater functionality
- Cloud-based solution can be used anywhere with an internet access
- Easily set up virtual call centers, remote teams, and distributed teams
- Compatible with any device in the world
- Truly integrated workflows
- Boosts productivity and performance of sales, service, or support
- Adjusts workflows to enhance customer experience
- Gives visibility to specific actions
Companies that build their own apps can use an Open API landscape so that other companies can use their apps. This Open API landscape builds a collaborative win-win situation for both parties. The developing company generates revenues from other companies that use its apps.
Conclusion: Future of Open APIs
Open APIs have been growing in popularity recently as devices grow and consumers demand better interactions. They are free, open, and seamless to use. Although, there are some risks, with proper care the benefits outweigh the issues. Therefore, it’s safe to say that Open API will keep on growing in the industry.