When building out a technical project, it always seems as there are a hundred and one different choices for you to make.
What language should I code this in? How am I going to market this? Where should I host it?
All of these questions, and more, will plague the starting process. But perhaps one of the most important questions of all is this: of the different types of APIs, which one am I going to go with?
The API that you select will have a massive impact on the rest of your company. Not only will it determine your ability to develop your product in the way that you see fit, but it could also impact your security concerns, whether or not enterprise companies will buy your software, and how your product integrates with others on the market.
To ensure that you select the right API for your product and industry, we’ve written this guide on the different types of APIs.
Open vs Private API
If you’ve spent a lot of time in the development industry, then there’s no doubt that you’ve heard many a company tout their “open API” as one of their primary product benefits.
But what is an open API and why does it seem so desirable?
To put it in simple terms, an open API is an API that is freely available for other products to build integrations to. Remember that an API is an Application Programming Interface — having an open API simply means that any and all companies can integrate with your product.
Thus, having an open API can improve the versatility of your product by allowing other organizations to very easily partners with it.
There are, however, certain instances in which you may not want to have an open API. If your product, for instance, is for health companies that deal with Protected Health Information (PHI), then you may not want companies outside of an approved list to build out an API to your product.
SOAP vs REST API
Another big debate in the types of API integration possibilities out there is SOAP vs REST APIs. The main difference here is in strictness.
SOAP APIs have very strictly defined frameworks. Thus, any products that plug into a SOAP API must meet specific architectural requirements in order to play nicely with your product.
A REST API, on the other hand, has more looser guiding architectural principles. This makes it far easier for developers to build integrations to your API. Here’s what you need to know about REST APIs.
Which of These Types of APIs Will You Go With?
Now that you have a better idea of the types of APIs out there, you should be far better equipped to choose the best API for your product. At the end of the day, it basically comes down to how available you want your product to be to potential integration partners.
For more tech advice, be sure to check out the rest of the articles on the website!