Creating a Robust API

At its core, an API is a set of rules between pieces of software that can be used to communicate. However, if done wrong an API can be slow, cause issues or be extremely bloated. A common issue that LocalTeam Australia helps with is old software needing maintenance because of their old backend API not being able to handle the volume of data it is retrieving. So how do we create a robust API that won’t constantly break on you?

Crafting Effective Queries

Queries are used by backends to request data from a database. Some queries however will request the data inefficiently, this can mean that hundreds of thousands or even millions of unnecessary lines of data are being processed (very time-consuming) when they may not have needed to be.

Retrieving only what you need

Sometimes an API will accept a get-all request. If there is no limit on the request the API may return all records in a database, this is fine for a database with 13 items, but if a database has thousands, or even millions of rows this can take a long time to fetch from the database and then send to the user. Instead, pagination should be used, similar to how Google has many pages for a search instead of showing millions of results.

Ensuring the Backend Does the Work

Most of the time you don’t want the frontend to do calculations that could happen on the server, as this can result in multiple requests to the API and then having to loop through more data on the user’s PC. Instead, the API should be built to support such functionality. This is because it is generally both more inefficient and slower to do all the calculations on the front end.

Conclusions

Ultimately there are even more complexities to APIs, however, these are some solutions to some of the most common problems. If you need help creating an API that is robust or converting/maintaining an old API, LocalTeam Australia can help. Don’t hesitate to get in contact with us and book a FREE consultation if you need software maintenance or a new custom solution at (07) 4599 7300 or info@localteam.com.au

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