In the first part of this blog, we explained what a RESTful API is and what makes it better than other relevant systems. Additionally, we clarified some mobile-concerns to help you reduce latency and improve performance as well as security when developing authentic backends. Now we are back with more detailed information on how one can set up and implement robust, secure APIs during the mobile app development.
Many technical, as well as conceptual issues, might occur in APIs because people don’t take the time to plan them out in advance. From dealing with security to choosing the right storage options, this piece will showcase some proven tips to design real-world mobile APIs. So without further ado, let’s get down to business!
Setting up the Server
Every app is different and has specific needs in terms of scalability, performance, functioning, and administrative features. Below we have outlined some core factors that you must pay heed to while evaluating services for your server:
➢ How does the app scale the services, horizontally or vertically?
➢ How will the expenses upsurge with usage?
➢ Are there any data selection and migration features that allow users to outlast multiple backend environments for the app?
➢ How fast and easily can the data be migrated to another platform or service?
➢ What trusted security certificates are already included in the service to protect your system (i.e., encryption, uptime monitoring, and automated backups)?
Optimizing LocalStorage and Caching
Protecting the Data
To make sure that your app isn’t susceptible to any security threats and breaches, leverage various authentication mechanisms depending on your project’s needs. Remember, the hosted service you select for your server must include an integration of security certificates, such as SSL, and HTTPS.
HTTP is the most basic authentication protocol as well as the easiest to implement; however, it’s also the least secure as explained in our previous blog. Conversely, OAuth2 is the widely-used and benefitted protocol to perform user authentication. Experts suggest using OAuth2, phone number authentication, and social login libraries to safeguard all the API endpoints. Hourly event log files give you hastier visibility into custom code performance issues and security anomalies for coping with code failures and protecting user data from any suspicious event respectively.
Planning the Architecture
As discussed in the previous blog, you will need to design not one, but three different backend environments, which are development, staging, and production. The development environment is where programmers generate codebase by using automated scripts, programming tools, and a set of processes. As the code gets tested in Continuous Integration (CI) and receives a perfect ‘OK’ from Quality Assurance (QA) engineers, it advances to the second environment, i.e., from development to staging.
The goal with staging environment is to resemble production as closely as possible. Ideally, it provides accurate results of QA analysis by testing the live aggregated data (stripped of personal information) on the replica of the production environment. You can determine and justify how your app will perform in the production by matching the hardware, servers, platforms, and databases to this facsimile environment. If importing real-time sampled data doesn’t sound operable for your project, then consider using quasi-representative data to understand migration flows, cut risks, and discover bottlenecks in the logic.
Making Database and Storage Decisions
No matter what type of database you set up, double-check that the entity IDs should randomly generate Universally Unique Identifiers (UUIDs) as primary keys and not sequential. This 128-bit integer number will help in identifying and securing resources by producing a UUID that will be either entirely or practically dissimilar from the previously generated UUIDs, thereby ensuring no duplicated customer records in the app tier. When it comes to storing and organizing data, developers recommend using a traditional relational database, such as MariaDB and MySQL, since it:
✓ Eliminates data deduplication;
✓ Allows multiple users to access the same database;
✓ Carries out complex queries easily; and
✓ Allows the users to leverage lots of frameworks, libraries, and tools.
However, if you prefer the benefits of a relational database with the scalability of a NoSQL database, then a hybrid approach like PostgreSQL will be your best bet. The preference for choosing a particular database hugely depends on your project’s requirements and hosting environment.
Supporting Various Platforms
Last but not least, develop the APIs that don’t support the mobile devices only, but other platforms as well. The golden rule of thumb for designing RESTful APIs is to keep the client logic as light as possible while leaving all the obscure sorting, consolidation, sifting, and data aggregating to the server.
This way, you can avoid redrafting detailed filtering and parsing logic multiple times when developing your app for other channels including desktop, Mac, iOS, etc.
Hopefully, this guide has been informative and insightful. When developing your own backends, focus on placing data and resources in a flexible, extendible, and segmental way and communicating your priorities effectively.
If you are looking for a cost-effective and renowned mobile app development company to build robust and authentic RESTful APIs without being worried about database clusters and load balancer, then get in contact with us.