Woman looking at advantages of API Generation

Programmers spend more time coding APIs than debugging, testing, or documenting APIs. Building APIs manually is an arduous task that prevents professionals from focusing on other tasks. Luckily, you don’t have to waste time creating APIs by hand. Instead, you can rely on instant API generation that does most of the work for you. Of course, you want to make sure you choose the right types of API generation for your projects.

Learning more about your options should help you select low-code API generation tools that cooperate with web applications, various data types, multiple programming languages, and the devices in your IT ecosystem.

Recommended reading: 5 Reasons to Use API Generation

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Commons Types of APIs

Different types of APIs tend to work better in certain use cases. For example, you would likely use open-source public APIs to expose endpoints to anyone interested in accessing your data. However, you would probably want an API gateway with robust authentication features when you need to control who can access your information and microservices.

One of the first steps in API design relies on choosing the right type of API that meets your need.

REST API (RESTful API)

REST API standard for “representational state transfer application programming interface.” You might choose REST API generation when you want a flexible option that lets you easily add your own schema that describes how the API works with other internal APIs, web services, and other API calls.

Some key features of REST APIs include:

  • Supports JSON and XML to serve requests from most users.
  • Statelessness that requires users to submit all information for each request.
  • Scalability that adapts to current usage.
  • Simplified architecture that keeps the API lightweight and easy to manage.

Additionally, REST APIs do not require routing information for a user’s first URI (uniform resource identifier).

DreamFactory provides a low-code REST API generation process that can integrate with SQL and NoSQL databases. It also provides full API documentation and cooperation with HTTP or SOAP services.

SOAP API

SOAP API stands for “simple object access protocol application programming interface.” SOAP architecture is usually more complex than REST architecture. SOAP API messages must come in XML formats that contain an envelope, header, body, and fault.

Some developers prefer SOAP API when connecting web services. SOAP APIs also offer strong security features, built-in error handling, and support for older legacy systems.

It also has some disadvantages, especially when compared to REST APIs. For example:

  • SOAP only supports XML, while REST can support XML, YAML, HTTP, JSON, and other data formats.
  • SOAP’s complexity means it often consumes more bandwidth than REST APIs.
  • SOAP API can only perform a request; it cannot cache API calls.

If you currently use SOAP APIs, DreamFactory can instantly turn them into REST APIs without ostracizing your current users.

OpenAPI

Originally known as Swagger, OpenAPI Specification is an open-source, collaborative project run by the Linux Foundation. Some developers like OpenAPI because it takes a language-agnostic approach.

OpenAPI recommends using a GUI interface for OpenAPI generation. (You can find an OpenAPI generator on GitHub.) However, you can build them by hand.

You can configure open APIs to let anyone interact with your database or microservices. Users might not even need to submit authorization validation keys. Why would you want to give everyone access to your service? Businesses have found several ways to benefit from providing open access. You could use open APIs to:

  • Attract collaborators interested in working together on future projects.
  • Improving organizational transparency without spending excess time on documentation.
  • Growing your brand awareness to reach new customers and solidify your role as an industry leader.
  • Generate leads from users willing to exchange their contact information for access.

Businesses and individuals use public APIs daily, but they rarely think about it. For example, you use a public API when you ask Google Maps to give you directions to a destination.

Web API

Web APIs offer client-side communication between endpoints and applications. You can configure them as public or private APIs, depending on how you want to expose information and whether you have security concerns. If you want a private web API, require users to provide access tokens.

Users typically interact with endpoints via URI, which posts HTTP requests and awaits responses. Web APIs have also become an essential aspect of how websites function. For example, you use a web API when you tell your website’s homepage to display recent tweets or other social media posts. The website sends requests to the relevant service’s API, which sends back information that gets added to the page. Although this isn’t the only way that websites could function, it has become the standard approach.

Recommended reading: The Types of APIs Your Organization Might Need

What Happens After API Generation?

After API generation, you will probably need to manage your API to make sure it serves its intended purpose and doesn’t expose your organization to security threats. API management involves tasks like:

  • Establishing user roles to ensure people have the precise level of access they need to do their jobs.
  • Cataloging scripts that detail how users interact with your database and microservices.
  • Reviewing security settings regularly to stay ahead of vulnerabilities and address emerging concerns.

These tasks probably wouldn’t take long if your organization only had one or two APIs. It’s more likely that you need to manage dozens or hundreds. That puts a significant burden on your programmers.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an increasingly plausible way to manage APIs. AI can potentially manage APIs by monitoring usage and adjust to user needs without compromising security.

Currently, few organizations rely on AI to manage their APIs. That doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of time reviewing API permissions, configs, and other features. DreamFactory lets you manage all aspects of your API ecosystem from one dashboard, making it much easier for you to understand whether you need to make adjustments.

DreamFactory Hosted Trial Signup

Generate a full-featured,documented, and secure REST API in minutes.

Sign up for our free 14 day hosted trial to learn how.

Getting Started With DreamFactory

API development and management doesn’t need to take a lot of time. Start your 14-day free trial with DreamFactory to determine whether it has the API generation features that can streamline your workflows.

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