Building an enterprise-grade API is a challenge, especially when using code. No-code platforms like Unqork can speed up and simplify API development.
A valuable enterprise web application has to work across various systems. This increases your application’s scope and drives up its value, which in turn helps you keep up with the competition. The best way to make functionality widely available to other systems is to use application programmatic interfaces, also known as APIs.
An API is a bit of code that defines how a developer can request information from another application’s operating system. Here’s how it works: one application, referred to as the client, sends a request to another application known as the endpoint. This request indicates what the application wants to do. Once the endpoint authenticates the client, the API will establish a connection between the two applications, then process the request message and the endpoint’s response.
APIs distill an overwhelming amount of complexity down to a simple set of possible interactions. It seems straightforward, but creating an API involves much more than programming a server to connect point A to point B. In fact, building an API from scratch requires a lot of time and effort.
How to build an API with code
First, you have to familiarize yourself with all API design layers. Between the client and the business logic, you’ll need at least these three:
- Validation layer: Controls access to all interactions with the application
- Caching layer: Sends caching instructions to the client
- Orchestration layer: Combines data from multiple sources
Then, you must define your API’s architectural style. The two most common API architectures are REST (Representational State Transfer) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). REST provides data as representations of resources, while SOAP uses an XML data format to provide data as services. From there, you have to negotiate your API’s four essential security layers—identification, authentication, authorization, and encryption—and build your API endpoints.
After you’ve built your API, inspected it for bugs and errors, and determined that it meets all your requirements, it’s time to document the API. Proper documentation gives your developers all the information they need in order to “consume” or use your API. Your API documentation must include:
The authentication scheme
Endpoint definitions, plus their supported HTTP requests and responses
The methods, structure, and accepted parameters for each URI
All interfaces, classes, constructors, and expectations
All error descriptions
Documentation is almost as time-consuming as building the API itself, but you can’t skip this step! The quality of your documentation can have a direct influence on its adoption rate. You want users and developers to know exactly what your API is, what it does, and how to use it. After documentation is done, you have to test and retest your API.
We’ve boiled down the code-based API creation process down to its bare essentials, so we’ve only scratched the surface. On top of all the aforementioned backend work, you’ll have to repeat this lengthy process each time information is sent to an external application.
We’ve boiled down the code-based API creation process down to its bare essentials, so we’ve only scratched the surface. On top of all the aforementioned backend work, you’ll have to repeat this lengthy process each time information is sent to an external application. Using a low-code builder isn’t that much better—you still have to use code to define the API, what data you want to send, and how you want it sent. With no-code, there’s a better way.
Building smarter with no-code
If you use code or low-code platforms to build your enterprise APIs, you could spend months chipping away at this single aspect of your application. That takes up time, resources, and energy you just can’t afford to spare. On Unqork’s no-code platform, you can create APIs faster than you ever thought possible.
API creation is completely visual on Unqork. All API gateways are pre-built and pre-exposed, enabling you to create highly functional and flexible APIs without writing a single line of code.
Plus, all applications built on the Unqork no-code platform can run “headless” at the flip of a switch. This means your solution’s logic and functionality are available via APIs, allowing other systems to easily become a part of your front-end functionality. Unqork supports both REST and SOAP APIs and integrates well with external APIs for ultimate data access and distribution.
Watch our demo to see how seamless it is to set up an external API service.
After you’ve built your APIs, Unqork makes it easier to manage them. You can easily keep track of API access and credentials across your organization through Unqork’s centralized platform. Unqork also makes it easier for your team to follow API documentation best practices. Our platform’s API Docs Dashboard provides automatically-generated API documentation for every API module in your workspace. This feature will shave hours off of the API development process and help your creators get back to doing what they do best—innovating. With Unqork, you can easily create powerful APIs that drive value and push your application forward without the hassle of building from scratch.
To witness Unqork’s power first-hand, schedule a personalized demonstration with one of our in-house experts. Also, sign up for the Unqork newsletter and stay tuned into the latest no-code developments.