new-logo-wc

Insights / what is an api first approach to software development

What is an API-First Approach to Software Development

article hero banner

On February 7, 2000, Salesforce launched the Salesforce API at the IDG Demo 2000 conference. The Salesforce API is what many considered the first modern web-based API which paved the way for other companies like eBay and Amazon to develop their own APIs.

What is an API


An application Programming Interface (API) is a set of protocols, routines and definitions that enables two software components or applications to communicate with each other. Web-based APIs are APIs that can be accessed over the internet using standard HTTPS protocols.

Types of API

  1. Open APIs: Open APIs or also known as public APs or external APIs are APIs that can be publicly accessible by any developer.
  2. Internal APIs: Internal APIs also known as private APSs are only available within a company or organization. They are typically used for internal company systems and applications to communicate and share data.
  3. Partner APIs: Partner APIs are typically used by companies or partners to share information within each application but typically provide limited access to the data and information.

Types of API Protocols or Architecture

  1. REST API: These are APIs that conform to the Representational State Transfer (REST) architecture. REST APIs are also referred to as RESTful APIs. REST APIs use HTTP requests to perform database functions or operations like creating, reading, updating and deleting records or also known as CRUD-type operations. REST APIs are lightweight, flexible and scalable and are typically used for web applications and mobile applications.
  2. SOAP API: A Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) API is a protocol system that utilizes XML to define a messaging framework for communication that allows for a structured exchange of information in a decentralized and distributed environment.

API First Approach to Software Development

The API first approach in software development is a development approach that focuses on designing and building the API first before the actual application. This approach focuses on the API as the foundation of the application product design. The API is the first user interface of the application and is the primary means of interaction between the application and the users.

Benefits of API First Approach

  • Improved documentation and testing: The API-first approach makes it easier to document the application and to test the API separately from the implementation, leading to quicker and more accurate results.
  • Increased focus on microservices architecture: The API-first approach aligns well with microservices architecture, which involves building applications as a collection of small, independent components. This approach makes it easier to scale and maintain applications, and the API-first approach provides a clear and well-defined interface for these components.
  • Better user experience: By putting the API first, the development team can ensure that the application is built with a well-defined and easy-to-use interface, leading to better user experience and overall success of the application.

An API-first approach in software development focuses on the design and development of the API before the implementation. This approach aligns with the agile software development principle of iterative development which makes it a perfect fit for businesses and organizations who want to quickly launch and scale applications.

Comparing API - First Approach to Mobile First Development

Mobile-first in software development is an approach that prioritizes the development of mobile applications before any other platform or device. This ensures that the application is designed to work seamlessly on mobile devices and user experience is built-in the development process.

Comparing API - First Approach to Design First Approach

The design first approach prioritizes the design of the user interface (UI) and prioritizes the User Experience (UX) in the software development process. The design first approach typically involves creating mockups, prototypes, and wireframes to visualize the design and user flow before any code is written.

Comparing API - First Approach to Code First Approach

The code first approach prioritizes the development of the software code as the primary focus of the development process. The code is developed to implement the required functionality of the application and the API is created after the application is built.

The choice of which approach to take will ultimately depend on the project requirements, budget, and goals of the project.

How White Cloak can Help


Choosing the right software development approach can be difficult because of the number of variables and requirements that needs to be considered. Our experience and expertise help eliminate the guesswork and trial and error in software development. We understand that each business is unique and has its own set of requirements and goals. That's why we work closely with our clients to determine the best approach for their specific needs. We take the time to understand their business processes, workflows, and pain points to develop software solutions that are tailored to their requirements.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you develop a custom software solution that meets your business needs and goals.





contact-us-champion-logo

Let's create something
amazing together

For general inquiries, drop us a line and we'll get a representative
reach out to you within 24 hours.