Over the past decade their have been a number of different web development paradigms. As the craft of web development has evolved so have the ways of designing and structuring software architecture. API First design is an approach to software development that emphasizes building components of your application as APIs.
This approach has a number of advantages:
1. Separation of Concerns
API First design is the formal separation of the front end from the back end. For instance Mashape.com is separated into two github repos, one for the front end and one for the back end, which interact through a well defined API. Similar to the Model View Controller paradigm, by decoupling data from logic from presentation, it forces a better code architecture, which in the long term decreases your technical debt. API-First design makes it easy to push data to multiple views, regardless of size or functionality.
Industries move forward when knowledge can be ‘black boxed’. Imagine if, to build a web application, you had to know how to build the microchips from scratch. But thanks to specialization and division of labor all you need to focus on is the code. This is the advantage of API First design. Developers only need to know the requests and responses sequences of the API endpoints. This approach frees up the front end dev team to focus on a few specific ways to interact with the data, and the back end team can focus on providing it in a RESTful manner.
Why limit yourself to just one source of data? With modern web practices you can easily combine multiple APIs to make a powerful site fast. And if your needs change, so can the app, by simply adding or removing an API. Plus the modular approach decreases the difficulty of scaling up your application.
API First design is a step forward in building high performance websites. And if you need inspiration for websites to build, check out our extensive catalog of APIs at Mashape.