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Design-First approach made easy through visual API design studio

Sudhakar Alaparthi

Platform Engineer

Redefining how APIs are built

Recent years have been a boom time for the API economy. There's an API solution for practically every need: Payment APIs, communications APIs, shipping APIs, are just three examples and there are many, many more. The need to rapidly bring to market hundreds of thousands of new APIs has created the need to redefine how developers build software.

Whether your goal is to build an open-source API, internal API, or an API for helping developers of 3rd party software integrate with your products, there's one thing that makes successful APIs stand out from the rest: You must build an API that's optimized for developer experience, (DX).

The need for a design-first approach to API development

An API-first approach assumes that the design and development of an application programming interface (API) is completed before implementation, but this is a sequential process that is seldom followed.

Design-first means everyone on the team speaks the same language and means every tool is able to leverage the same design. Companies and teams that embrace this approach find they have the ability to bridge the gap between design and development more easily.

Companies that use this API-first approach adapt more quickly to changing requirements. This characteristic of responding fast to changes in the operating environment clearly provides competitive advantage.

Also, by separating the design of the API from its implementation, the architect is constrained only by the data model and business logic. With the sequence of steps below, the API can now evolve without being burdened with complexities such as existing user interfaces or legacy engineering frameworks.

  • Design the new feature
  • Get feedback about the new feature
  • Build the feature
  • Deploy the changes

We believe a better API spec provides the opportunity to create an environment that incorporates a whole new ecosystem of tooling, an API lifecycle management platform. This is a critical piece of infrastructure.

One of the principle assumptions baked into every competing API definition today is that the specifications must be maintained in a human readable, machine readable, and human writable format. In practice, this ends up taking the form of one large YAML or JSON file.

Essentially, the root problem with the current spec standard is there is only one model that is used for both reading and writing, and it has to support the needs of both humans and machines. We can all agree this is an unrealistic expectation of a single data model.

We need models optimized for:

  • Human Readability - enabling programmers to easily read and understand the API being specified.
  • Human Writability - enabling programmers to quickly write and modify the spec with productive abstractions.
  • Machine Readability - allowing tools to query the information in the spec relevant to them.

Design-first approach made easy through visual API design studio

Apiwiz Design Studio simplifies the API design experience by optimizing each use case without the need for tradeoffs. Apiwiz Design studio strips away the complexity of parsing and mutating a traditional API spec, enabling your team to focus and define an API in minutes.

Apiwiz API Portfolio allows API architects to define domain specific reusable assets which makes API standards shareable between teams.

Design Studio and API Portfolio are part of Apiwiz, the integrated platform that brings together the tools required to run and manage APIs at scale. This ensures that every organization participating in the API economy has the capability to manage its API estate holistically throughout the lifecycle of each API.

Apiwiz encompasses the engineering and the technical elements of API design and development. It also provides tools that enable everyone involved in the API lifecycle, including business unit managers and API program managers, as well as developers, to collaborate closely to achieve organizational goals.

To see how Apiwiz enables a design-first approach to API development, simply book your demo.

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