Mobile applications API

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Mobile applications API development tips

It is a common knowledge that websites owners want to provide the same functionality of the sites in the form of mobile applications.

But the is a lot of nuances. At first mobile applications data are located on servers and this data is private in common, so a mobile app must have a way to communicate with a server. Therefore an Application Programming Interface (API) should be provided.

Besides, an API may be used not only by mobile apps, but also by websites based on a JavaScript framework.

mobile app

In this way we come to the very useful data format to use in responses, JSON, so data size may be dramatically reduced, compared to HTML for example.

An API interface - is a set of routes. Each route will be responsible for a particular task, like a user registration, getting products/orders list, order checkout processing and so on, it depends on a project. By using an API you provide a potential opportunity for backend developers to disengage from client-side nuances regardless it is a mobile app or a website or anything else.

Usually mobile applications APIs use OAuth 2.0 authorization framework with temporary tokens. This adds one more protection layer for all the private data on servers.

Right response data format like JSON allows to optimize an application's performance, because today it is a trivial task to parse JSON-formatted data.

Good APIs designed in a way to embody the REST principles (Representational State Transfer). Not going into the details one can say that the REST principles help a developer to understand how to use an API even by it's routes names and HTTP-methods, so client-side integration will be much easier.

For example if we have an Order entity we can create the following routes, accessible by the following HTTP-methods:

  • GET /orders - get all orders, some developers prefer to use "/order"
  • GET /order/:id: - get the specific order by it's id, some use "/orders/:id:"
  • PUT /order - create a new order
  • POST /order/:id: - update the order by it's id
  • DELETE /order/:id: - and delete the order by it's id

It is much better to use separate methods in your code, responsible for server successful responses formatting, as well as error responses, containing client-side errors or validation errors. Assume all of the above-mentioned, APIs should be created by experienced developers who will be able not only to create a good API, but to extend and not to crash the old one.

In the same time designers and frontend developers will have much bigger freedom of action to use various frameworks and programming languages to create convenient mobile- or/and web-application.

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