A 7-Minute Guide to Build Authentic RESTful APIs for Your Apps (Part 1 of 2)
Apps are built in several shapes and sizes as well as for various platforms. But a common element found in each app is that they interact with servers. However, very few apps out there today don’t need internet connectivity to operate without a glitch. In this manner, such apps use APIs for backend communication. Many renowned companies, including Amazon, Google, and Facebook, are providing the RESTful APIs to businesses to ease the mobile app development process.
On a side note, it’s possible to develop authentic and specific APIs in-house for various types of apps. However, building the great APIs or other web services is a tremendously daunting task. But don’t sweat it – In this guide, we have outlined the best practices that will help enterprises develop and maintain excellent app-focused backends. So let’s discuss them out.
What exactly are RESTful APIs?
Before getting started with the development of APIs, let’s cover all of the basics associated with the both terms ‘RESTful’ and ‘APIs.’
API is the abbreviation for Application Program Interface that offers a set of communication protocols and tools to build apps. It allows users to access the feature or data of an operating system, platform, app, or other services.
REST is, beyond a doubt, the most widely and commonly-used architecture style to design the networked apps and APIs as well as deliver web services. The subsets of REST, like O Data, allow developers to build custom RESTful APIs, define functions/actions for repeatable tasks, and send asynchronous or batch requests. The generic RESTful architecture style helps programmers understand:
- How they can maintain their server code and develop new services onto it; and
- How data will be conveyed between the server and their apps.
How are the RESTful APIs Different from Other Systems?
There are many careful considerations associated with the security, hosting, and architecture, which make backends different from any other system. To be precise, RESTful APIs:
- Use several standard and robust security protocols and well-vetted authentication libraries that other systems don’t.
- Build API endpoints to establish communication between the database and app.
- Offer a huge benefit of creating accounts for offline usage across various devices.
- Allow the client to send full objects and let the server utilize the fields it requires (for client-server requests and responses).
- Give precedence to performance and scalability when hosting a server.
Apart from these, there are an array of factors that prove APIs are entirely different from other systems.
Which Mobile-App Concerns one should Remember when Developing APIs?
Below we have explained the four major mobile-specific concerns to keep in mind when developing authentic RESTful APIs for apps.
1) HTTPs over HTTP
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the standard protocol that allows browsers and web servers to interact with each other over networks. But this method doesn’t ensure the end-to-end protection across the internet. HTTPs, conversely, is the secure version of HTTP, which comes with modern encryption and trusted security certificates including SSL, TLS, etc.
The mobile platforms enforce HTTPS requirements for every single endpoint. That’s why it’s necessary to use the similar security certificates for all three backend environments servers, which include development, staging, and production servers. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), which is accountable to load content faster on mobile devices, needs HTTPs to perform all of the activities. By using HTTPs during the mobile app development, you will be able to identify and resolve security issues when migrating or testing features. Not to mention, Google made a significant announcement that any webpage or site without HTTPs will be marked as ‘Not Secure’ from July 2018 onwards.
2) Servers are the Basic Building Blocks
It’s no secret that servers are the heart of the internet; basically, they do most of the work for computer networks. It’s quite rare to see a mobile app that won’t benefit by interfacing with its own server. From querying to storing data remotely, APIs make apps highly responsive and perceptive by handling UI interactions as well as backend events. It also empowers developers to reduce network data costs, save battery life, and understand user behavior. A remote API ensures to secure your stored data and run the app smoothly by displaying the search results quickly.
For instance, Google’s Awareness APIs provide seven different types of contexts to applications, including weather, location, and user activity. These smart APIs give developers access to more of the user’s data and allow them to take advantage of context signals, thereby proving to make apps more productive.
3) Server Issues can Impact an app Negatively
Sure, servers do offer plenty of advantages; even it won’t be wrong to say that they are the most important pillars of the web. But the same server can also kill your app. Well, not the server precisely, but some technical issues that might transpire in the servers, for example, downtime error allied with web server failure.
On the off chance, if a server crashes, tech users might take this concern to the Google Play Store and the App Store to share their personal experience regarding the same. Such unfortunate incidents can damage the rating of your app and influence your potential customer to say ‘No way,’ to your app, irrespective of the circumstances.
So, how to deal with such a tricky situation? Although, as we all know, server failure can sometimes be inevitable, but there’s one thing you must do before taking care of this problem. Make sure that the server must display a user-friendly error code or message to describe the status as well as situation regarding the issue. It will assuage users that the problem will be fixed soon.
4) Versioning APIs is Important
Mobile users continuously update their applications over different frequencies, which’s why developers need to versioning their APIs from time to time. Since there might be several different versions of an app running, it’s essential that the server must consolidate and handle all the coming in requests from new customers as well as regulars.
That’s all for now! In the next blog post, we will explain what steps one needs to take when setting up RESTful APIs for the app, so stay tuned for that!
Are you seeking reliable and top-notch mobile app development services to develop robust and secure APIs for your next application? Look no further, we’ve got you covered! Call us today @ (877)720-0022 or drop us an email at [email protected]