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What To Do To Design Better JavaScript APIs

JavaScript is a text-based server and client-side programming language. It is a popular scripting language used in developing web applications and making them interactive. It creates elements for web pages that a user can easily engage with. Due to its growth and wide usage, it is very popular in the world of APIs.

On the other hand, APIs (Applications Programming Interfaces) are computing interfaces used by applications for communication and sharing of data. They are the connective elements between applications. If you are a developer, chances are that you have interacted with JavaScript, either building web applications, APIs, or even using APIs on JavaScript applications.


Most developers often leave some very important things when working with the two. You might find an API that when tested, works pretty well and meets all its expectations. However, the same API might be very difficult to integrate with other applications due to some of the things that developers forget or assume. Most of these things revolve around writing clean coding.

Developers are supposed to make sure that the APIs they built do not only meet their functional requirements but are also easy to use when integrated with other applications. Some of the things to pay attention to when building JavaScript APIs include;

Method Chaining

You can never design good JavaScript APIs if you ignore method chaining in your code. This is useful when developers are writing code that is readable and that would be easy to understand for any other developer. This technique allows developers to write code in sequences that resemble sentences. Such code reduces noise and is easy to read.


When a developer is integrating various APIs with JavaScript, they need to be able to understand each line of code without seeking any help from the API owners. This way, you will not only attract developers to use your API but will also satisfy the requirements of the final application users since the APIs will be integrated well without any issues.

Consistency

When building JavaScript APIs, some developers often fail to observe consistency with their code. The words conformity, sameness, and uniformity are often used to define consistency. Consistency allows developers using your APIs to make predictions and assumptions about its implementation and behavior that are always accurate.

Although someone might argue that these predictions are not important, they are very vital for developers handling older or larger applications since the codebase is usually large to be memorized. They are able to easily find their way around the applications. This way, you will come up with a better JavaScript API.

Extensibility

Extensibility refers to the ability of the API user (in this case the developer implementing your API) to extend the API and its core. Even though there are many benefits of using SaaS, imagine a situation where you are subscribed to a SaaS application that even if you offered to pay more to get more space, for instance, you would not be able to do that. Chances are that you would look for another provider that meets your requirements.

Similarly, when building JavaScript APIs, you need to keep in mind developers who would like to add its functionality and more. If you do this, you will be able to focus on the API’s important things and leave the implementation of some cases to the API users. You can use things like events and callbacks to implement extensibility.

Conclusion

Finally, you need to make sure that you have detailed documentation for your API. Some developers might assume that since they have followed all the steps above, their code is clean, easy to understand, and extensible, and therefore they do not need to have the API documentation.

This is wrong since that documentation plays a major role in helping the API users to understand the API even more. Always remember that an API can be seen as a contract between the API consumer and its owner, and that contract should never be breached!

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