There are multiple factors to consider when designing your API (Application Programming Interface), from user interface design and the specification framework to app versioning. Another important factor to consider is the architectural design of the API.
“The term “API design” or “API architecture” refers to the process of developing a software interface that exposes backend data and application functionality for use in new applications.” – API Academy
With new technologies such as IoT, and ways of accessing backend data becoming more efficient and faster, there are new methods and styles to provide developers with quicker techniques. Of course, just because there is a new trend on the block doesn’t mean you should ignore older concepts. Your ultimate business objectives, how best to provide for your customer and your budget are key considerations to take into account when developing an API.
In this blog post we discuss 2 key but varied architectural API designs that are in use today and continue to shape and develop APIs.
REST stands for Representational State Transfer and is used in the design of web-API models, whereby the communication between the server (web and database) and client is carried out through HTTP methods. A REST API deals with hypermedia such as media, files or objects that are on a hardware device. In order for an API to be RESTful, it must follow these constraints:
- Client: Server relationship is loosely coupled, meaning that even if both use differing technologies, they can still couple to carry out transactions.
- Stateless: A stateless server is one that ensures each call or request of the server is an independent transaction, it isn’t linked to the previous call and no information will be held.
- Cacheable: Copies of the requested data can be stored in different areas (caches) along the request-response path.
- Layered system: There are intermediary servers layered on top of one another along with the end server. The various servers can serve different purposes; server A might store data and server B could deploy the API.
- Uniform Interface: a request must state which resources it is looking for through a URL and that each message request should contain adequate information so the server knows how to process it.
The gRPC protocol is a new method of an old architecture (Remote Procedure Call) that allows microservers to communicate very quickly. It allows you to define REQUEST and RESPONSE for RPC.
The remote procedure call can actually run on a remote machine within a system, rather than running on a local machine. This ensures low latency and is language independent, meaning you don’t have to rely on one type of programming language to develop your API on this architecture.
This type of architecture works well for streaming services such as Netflix and IoT/low power devices because the RPCs interactions work like contracts. What binds it together, or the negotiation is based upon the client-server relationship, as opposed to how the architecture is set up itself. The client is responsible for implementation and execution, whereas the remote server that hosts the resources takes care of the error handling and computation. This makes it a useful service for microservices who need to communicate quickly with one another.
At TADCO, we work with a team of talented software developers to ensure you have a fully functioning and brand-driven API style. Talk to us today, and let’s discuss how we can address your API needs.