by Tony Harris • January 26, 2021
API (Application Programming Interface) development is a rapidly widening field. Every piece of software you may use will involve an API, and the number of jobs for API developers skyrockets every year. Unfortunately, poorly developed APIs can create difficulty and security concerns for users. What are some API development best practices you can put into place to prevent those outcomes?
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JSON is easy to parse and most frameworks support it, plus any programming language can use it as data. This makes it the most versatile and widely used format to date. DreamFactory helps clients modernize from SOAP to REST for this reason.
One of the most important features of any API is that it should be easy to understand and use. JSON is only the first step. Some other things you can do are:
Having clear documentation is extremely important. Sometimes, documentation may be auto-generated based on an API definition. In other cases, you will need to work hard to make sure that the documentation is easy to understand for those with limited experience.
Ensure that you have full documentation to help users understand authentication, security and error handling. It may also be helpful to offer guides, interactive tutorials and easily-accessible resources. The more detail your documentation has, the easier it will be for users to get right into utilizing your API.
DreamFactory enables users to create fully documented REST APIs with zero code, greatly simplifying the process and reducing the amount of work required to make your API accessible to users at different levels of experience and knowledge.
Another best practice for developing APIs is always to make use of current security frameworks like SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security). SSL certificates help generate a secure connection by providing both a public and private key. This encrypts the connection. Without it, there is no guarantee that you are adequately protecting sensitive data such as medical or financial information. TLS is simply the most modern version of SSL, offering enhanced protection and security. You can tell whether any website has an SSL certificate by the addition of HTTPS in the URL. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, and it is a factor in Google Rankings as of 2014.
Some other important API security best practices include regular testing. Two important tests that you can use are:
Finally, rate limiting is a simple way to prevent DoS (Denial of Service) attacks where an overload of requests disrupts the normal functionality of an API. Limiting the number of requests per user for a particular amount of time will protect against these attacks.
The main thing you can do to ensure your project meets various API development best practices is work with an API management platform. DreamFactory helps users build secure, documented and live REST APIs with no code.
Some things you should expect from an API management platform:
These can help you attain your goals in API development while ensuring that your solution is secure and easy to use. API development best practices are essential and yet difficult to attain. With the help of DreamFactory, you can now build fully automated and successful APIs with little or no knowledge of coding.
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