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API development best practices

IT leaders are turning to APIs as the tissue that integrates their applications, systems, and data. 80% of IT leaders say their organization uses public and/or private APIs.

Given the rising value of APIs, it’s important to consider API development best practices when designing and building APIs.


The importance of API development

API development best practices enable the full API lifecycle — from design, build, test, through to deployment. APIs developed with software development lifecycle methodologies in mind lead to well-built, powerful APIs that can easily process and compose data.

Well developed APIs are also secured by design through automatic API registration and policy management. Additionally, APIs developed with development best practices are easy to build, productize, deploy and change.


Principles for API development:

Now that we understand the value of API development, what are some development best practices to keep in mind when building APIs?

  • Create expectations: When working with developers, it is critical to inform them of what is expected, when it should be delivered, and what pain points are to be solved by the API functionality.
  • Service messaging: With the goal of creating new products and services, or transforming existing products and services, it is paramount to make sure those services and the APIs that provide access to them align with business goals and lead to services that deliver value.
  • Case studies: It’s key to back up assumptions with viable case studies that illustrate the improvements that API adoption brings to the table.
  • Documentation and support: Make sure the proper tools are in place for the dev team to document their progress, as well as address change management, along with exposing the capabilities of an API. Ensure that support for the both the development and implementation team is readily available.
  • SDKs and libraries: Provide the necessary resources to the development team to speed services development and implementation by offering resources that contain reusable code and processes.

For more information about API development best practices, take a look at Undisturbed REST: A Guide to Designing the Perfect API. In addition, learn more about the API design tools MuleSoft offers to help you implement the right API development best practices.

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